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Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Manchester and Director of the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health.  He leads the National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England.  


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 £25m 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, 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 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.  From 2013-2019 he was a non-executive director of the Care Quality Commission, the NHS regulator. 

Louis was the author of England's first national suicide prevention strategy and continues to co-chair (with a health minister) the Government's advisory group on suicide prevention. He has written reports on suicide prevention after the Grenfell fire for the NHS and on doctors facing investigation for the GMC.

He received the RCPsych Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021.

He was awarded a CBE in 2006 and was knighted in the 2023 New Year Honours.  


Research interests

Mental health and Safety:

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 Safety in Mental Health (  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 (


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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