A BACP counsellor has scooped a prestigious fellowship that will pay for her to carry out research into suicide prevention on the other side of the world.

And Naomi Watkins will go on to use her research findings to help her develop suicide prevention projects for young people back in the UK.

Naomi was one of 150 people from across the country out of 1,800 applicants to receive a prestigious Churchill Fellowship.

The grant will pay for her to travel to Australia and New Zealand to carry out a six-week research project.

Naomi, who is chief executive of the Naomi Watkins Counselling Hub (NWCH), in Lincoln, says both countries have high suicide rates – but they also have good prevention programmes and lots of services working with young people.

She will be carrying out qualitative research around organisations’ beliefs about suicide prevention in young people – and listening to their recommendations.

Naomi said she was “excited” about the project.

“I am keen to use my trip to carry out important research into suicide prevention, specifically for children and younger adults. 

“At NWCH we counsel people of all ages,but would like to run special projects designed to help troubled children in this category. I shall be researching ways of spotting signs of a person’s ideation or intention of ending their life by suicide. 

“Many people think suicide mainly affects older adults, but there has been a rise in the number of younger people driven to end their own lives by suicide for various reasons. 

“This is a tragedy and, as counsellors, we are determined to do all we can to prevent this from happening.

“I am looking forward to sharing my research findings.”

Naomi will use her findings to help her and her organisation run suicide prevention projects in Lincolnshire, through schools, support groups, workshops, projects and a mental health toolkit.

She will also present her research results at university lectures and conferences.

And her findings will also help to inform her community interest company’s Suicide Prevention Conference, which is taking place at The Showroom in Lincoln on September 10 – World Suicide Day.

Churchill Fellowships are awarded by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to offer UK citizens a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel the world and research solutions to important topical issues in a subject of their choice.  The average grant is £6,000.