Can you help contribute to important research about suicide?

Researchers at King’s College London are looking to improve their understanding of the difficulties women face in the perinatal period.

About one in four women will struggle with their mental health during pregnancy or in the year after birth, also known as the perinatal period.

Many women find support in their partner, family and friends and healthcare professionals and overcome these perinatal mental health difficulties.

Unfortunately, we know that for some women this is not the case. To this day, suicide remains the leading cause of death in the year after giving birth, with devastating effects on those families and children.

Little is known about the factors leading up to a suicide attempt in the perinatal period, and particularly women’s interactions with healthcare services, their needs and expectations.

The Attempted Suicide in the PEriNatal Period (ASPEN) study wants to change this, by listening to the experiences of women who had an attempted suicide during the perinatal period, and that of their partner, friends, or family members. By doing so, it can further their understanding of the difficulties these women are experiencing and help inform future prevention strategies.

The ASPEN-study team has worked closely with women with lived experience of perinatal mental health difficulties, healthcare professionals and a wide range of third sector organisations to ensure this study is conducted sensitively and safely. Ethical approval was granted by the King’s College London Ethical Committee.

How to apply to take part

The study is now open for recruitment. They are looking for women who would like to share their experiences with a member of the research team, through a one-off interview.

They would like to hear from women aged over 18 years who had a suicide attempt during pregnancy or the year after birth, within the last 10 years, and who feel safe enough to talk about their experiences.

The team are all trained in trauma-informed interviewing skills and can work around women’s schedules and preferences for the interview (face-to-face, telephone, video call). Participants will be reimbursed for their time.

You can find more information about the ASPEN-study and take part here.

Please get in touch with the study team via email ( or via our contact form.