Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA) Essay Competition 2021

The first annual Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA) Essay Competition 2021 has been organised by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) on behalf of the Suicide and Self-Harm Research North West (SSHaRe NoW) network, a collaboration between UCLan, Liverpool John Moores University, The University of Manchester, the Manchester Self-Harm Project, the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust and the NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs).

The ZSA is a members-led charity campaign hosted by Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust dedicated to preventing suicide. They work in collaboration with NHS trusts, non-profit organisations, local authorities, businesses and individuals to raise awareness of suicide and its contributing factors. They also aim to break the stigma that surrounds suicide and enable leaders to drive meaningful action to help prevent suicide in the UK and beyond. Some of the ZSA’s activities involve developing suicide prevention training that teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts; and working with organisations such as UCLan, providing support and guidance around the development of suicide prevention training packages. The ZSA training is accessible to all.

In relation to self-harm, this is one of the strongest predictors of suicide and therefore important to understand. The ZSA also aims to understand the factors that contribute to suicide, since improved understanding can guide suicide prevention strategies and programmes.

During the Covid-19 pandemic there has been much attention given to both the rates of suicide and self-harm, so what does the evidence tell us? It is this very question we invite you to answer in our first annual ZSA competition. The aim of this competition is to encourage quality research and writing on suicide and self-harm, to engage people in a creative way, and to share knowledge and expertise.

Question: Have the rates of self-harm and suicide increased during the covid-19 lockdowns and pandemic, in the UK and globally, and how might we explain these findings?

  • Win a first prize of £500
  • Prize winner’s presentation by the ZSA.
  • This is an academic style of essay. Competition entries will be judged by a panel of members from the Suicide and Self-Harm Research North West (SSHaRe NoW) network and the Zero Suicide Alliance on the extent to which their essay shows good knowledge of the topic area and supporting empirical evidence, cogency of argument, originality and independence of thought, clarity of expression, and overall ability to articulate explanations for trends in the evidence.
  • Essays should be no longer than 3,000 words and contain a reference list at the end of essay to support the ideas, claims, and concepts in the essay. The reference list is not included in the word count and can be formatted in any style, but must include all those references that appear within the text. In-text citations should include only the author surname and date.
  • Essay published on the University of Central Lancashire, ZSA, and the SSHaRe NoW website which is hosted by the University of Manchester.
  • We encourage entries from students, practitioners, experience-by-experience and members of the public with a shared interested in suicide and self-harm, from across the UK and internationally.

Winner of the Zero Suicide Alliance Essay Competition 2021

"We were extremely impressed with the entries we received for this competition, from a diverse range of people. Competition entries were judged by a panel of members from the Suicide and Self-Harm Research North-West (SSHaRe NoW) network and the Zero Suicide Alliance. Several essays were strong contenders, but the winning essay by Chloe Morris was unanimously selected by judges as the essay that best captured trends in self-harm and suicide during the pandemic, whilst showing a good understanding of the issues and constructing balanced arguments to articulate potential explanations for these trends."

Dr Kathryn Gardner

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