EVENING LECTURE: When It is Darkest: Understanding the psychology of suicide risk

Rory O'Connor in Brighton

When it is darkest: Understanding the psychology of suicide risk

Professor Rory O'Connor, University of Glasgow

Where: The Brighton Centre
When: 6.30pm BST, Tuesday 25 April 2023
Who: Suggested age range - 14+ 

Book your free ticket here

Getting to the heart of this most tragic of human outcomes, challenging myths and misunderstandings as well as bringing together the personal and the professional: these are the aims of Professor O'Connor's book, When It Is Darkest: Why People Die by Suicide and What We Can Do To Prevent It (Vermilion, 2021), which he will draw upon in this free evening public lecture. 

In this presentation, he will dispel some of the myths associated with suicide as well as describing the Integrated Motivational–Volitional (IMV) Model of Suicidal Behaviour (O’Connor & Kirtley, 2018). The IMV model outlines the pathways to the emergence of suicidal ideation and the transition from suicidal thoughts to acts of suicide. This tripartite model maps the relationship between background factors and trigger events, and the development of suicidal ideation/intent through to suicidal behaviour. Crucially, the IMV model identifies clinical targets for treatment.

As he has done in When It Is Darkest, Professor O'Connor will present an overview of some of our clinical, experimental and intervention studies to illustrate how psychological, physiological and social factors increase suicide risk and what we all can do to tackle suicide.  He will also highlight the psychological evidence of what works to prevent suicidal behaviour. The wider implications for the prevention of suicide will also be discussed.


About the speaker

Rory O’Connor PhD FRSE FAcSS is Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention and a Past President of the International Academy of Suicide Research. Rory leads the Suicidal Behaviour Research Lab at Glasgow, one of the leading suicide/self-harm research groups internationally. He has published extensively in the field of suicide and self-harm. 

He is also co-author/editor of several books, including being author of the award-winning book When It is Darkest. Why People Die by Suicide and What We Can Do To Prevent It (2021). 

He is the recipient of several awards including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Research Award (2023). Rory is also a Trustee of and a Science Council member of MQ Mental Health Research and Trustee of James’ Place, the male suicide crisis service.


If you are in crisis or feeling suicidal we urge you to seek help from your GP, a key worker, or family and friends. You can also contact helpline services such as Samaritans (116 123) or NHS24 (111).

Please also see a more comprehensive list of UK support organisationsand/or a list of support organisations across other countries.