Louis Appleby graduated in medicine in Edinburgh and subsequently trained in hospital medicine and psychiatry, the latter at the Institute of Psychiatry, London. He has an MD from Edinburgh and is a Fellow of the Royal Colleges of both Physicians and Psychiatrists. He has held research grants totalling £15.5m from the Wellcome Trust, MRC, Department of Health and other NHS sources.

Louis leads the Centre for Mental Health and Safety, investigating suicide and self-harm, violence and forensic services, the largest research unit in this field internationally.  Its findings have been the basis of Government policy on suicide prevention and are widely quoted by governments, professionals and charities.  From 2000-2010 Louis was seconded (part-time) as the Government's National Director for Mental Health to lead a national programme of reform in mental health care in England and from 2010-2014 he was National Clinical Director for Health and Criminal Justice.


Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Manchester and Director of the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness.  He leads the National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England and is a Non-Executive Director of the Care Quality Commission, the NHS regulator.

Research interests

Mental health and risk:

Suicide and self-harm, homicide and forensic services, parental mental health and its impact on children.

The Centre for Mental Health and Safety investigates suicide and suicide prevention in the general population and in specific groups including mental health patients, children and young people, people who have previously harmed themselves and offenders.  The group has studied the events that precede suicide asking: What are the factors that increase risk in a particular group? What protects some people but not others? When and how can services intervene to prevent suicide?

The largest project is the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (  The Inquiry has built up a UK-wide database of suicides now totalling over 100,000 individuals.  Detailed information on the clinical care of mental health who die by suicide is collected and published in regular reports.  A similar database has been developed for homicide and for sudden unexplained death in mental health inpatients.  The Inquiry has demonstrated that mental health provider organisations that have adopted its recommendations subsequently have lower patient suicide rates.

Louis Appleby is the Director for the Inquiry and leads the Centre.  Other major areas of study in the Centre include self-harm (, support for people bereaved by suicide (, offender health ( and large scale epidemiological studies carried out in collaboration with Danish colleagues, on suicide and other risks, especially in parental mental illness and in offenders (


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