The Atlas Study

Recruitment has now closed

Aim: The purpose of this focus group study is to explore how local environments impact the experience of self-harm and/or suicidality in young people (aged 15-21) living in regionally diverse areas across Australia. We wish to understand how to better support the needs of these young people.

Participation involves:  Participation involves you attending an in-person focus group at one of your local 

health or community organisations. There will be up to ten young people in the focus group. This will take about 2 hours in total. You will be compensated for time and travel costs with a $50 gift voucher. We aim to conduct the focus group in person; however, the ever-changing COVID-19 situation may result in them being conducted online via Zoom.

Every young person who participates will be asked about the local environments in which they live, work, learn, and play, and how these may have an impact on self-harming or suicidal thinking and behaviour. You will also be asked about organisations or initiatives available in your local area.

There will be up to 4 focus groups in each region of interest (Central Queensland, Brisbane North, South Western Sydney, and Hunter New England). The focus group will be co-facilitated by two experienced members of the project team. Local staff will be onsite to provide additional support and resources to participants. The project team will provide more specific instructions if you agree to participate.

 Eligibility criteria: We are currently looking for young people (a) living in Central Queensland or Hunter New England region**, (b) aged between 15-21 years, and (c) have lived experience of self-harm and/or suicidality to participate.

**If you’re unsure whether you live in the Central QLD region (e.g., Rockhampton, Gladstone) or Hunter New England region, please visit this website:

Description of the Study:

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and Roses in the Ocean (a suicide prevention organisation) are working together to learn more about what influences youth self-harm and suicide risk in metro, regional, and rural communities across Australia.

The project team wishes to learn more about what characteristics of your local community might have an impact (both positive and negative) on self-injurious and suicidal experiences through a focus group discussion. This includes having a chat about initiatives or programs available in the local area. With this knowledge, we expect to be able to better support the needs of young people in geographically diverse locations across Australia.

This study has been funded by Suicide Prevention Australia and is being run by QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, together with investigators from Roses in the Ocean, Australian National University (ANU), and University of Western Australia (UWA).

For more information and to participate now, please contact Dr Emily Hielscher via email

Study website:

This research is supported by a Suicide Prevention Research Fund Innovation Grant, managed by Suicide Prevention Australia, funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.

If you are feeling distressed and need support, please contact: Lifeline Australia 13 11 14

or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

QIMR-HREC Approval Reference: P3669

Recruitment Status: OPEN

Open date: 5/08/2021

Close date: Ongoing 



Study Coordinator: Dr Emily Hielscher

Contact details:

T: +61 7 3362 0129


A: QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Locked Bag 2000, Royal Brisbane Hospital,

Herston, QLD, 4029, AUSTRALIA