Greater Manchester Mental Health launch trial of new treatment to prevent student suicides

Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new clinical trial into a new type of talking therapy designed to support students who struggle with suicidal thoughts and their mental health.  

The clinical trial, known as MISST (Mental Imagery for Suicidality in Students Trial), is a collaborative effort between the trust, University of Lancaster, and The University of Manchester and provides a therapy designed to help strengthen a person’s ability to recall and relive positive memories.  

Funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), the trial is used as a method to counter the spiralling of negative thoughts and feelings in students – such as academic stress, moving away from home, and financial pressures – before they develop into suicidal thoughts. 

Within the Greater Manchester statement, the trust highlights that while universities offer counselling and mental health services for struggling students, further effect studies are required for preventing suicides. 

Dr Jasper Palmier-Claus, Co-Principal Investigator, Lancaster University, said of the new study: “When people are suicidal, we know it can be hard for them to focus on positive experiences in the past, or imagine positive experiences in the future.

“There is a sort of tunnel-vision. The therapy aims to help people break free from this state by re-connecting with positive experiences in their life.” 

Dr Peter Taylor, Co-Principal Investigator, The University of Manchester, added: “This is a first step, but an important one. This trial will give us the information we need to plan what we call a “definitive trial”, one that will then tell us how effective the therapy is. The aim is to work towards having effective therapies available for universities to help prevent student suicide.” 

In other news, NHS England has launched a new life-extending injection for a fatal form of blood cancer called multiple myeloma.