Dr Susan Rasmussen

Senior Lecturer


Personal statement

I joined the School of Psychological Sciences and Health as a lecturer in September 2008, having previously worked as a Research Fellow at Stirling University (with Professor Rory O'Connor). I am a Chartered Psychologist and my research is in the area of Health Psychology. My work is characterised by an interdisciplinary focus (e.g., psychology, health services research, social policy, primary and secondary care, epidemiology) and aims to address key health issues; However, I focus primarily on suicide and self-harm. My main research interest is to understand how self-harm and suicidal thoughts and behaviour begin, why they might be repeated, and how we can eventually stop these. I am particularly interested in understanding the trajectory of these thoughts and behaviours and how this can influence help seeking. I focus on the application of theoretical models to enhance our understanding of the aetiology of suicidal behaviours and psychological well-being across the lifespan, but I am dedicated to examining these experiences for high-risk groups in particular (e.g., adolescents, older adults, and LGBTQ+). I have a track record of obtaining funding for this work (including Wellcome Trust, Chief Scientist Office, ESRC). I am a Centre for Health Policy Fellow in the Centre for Health Policy at Strathclyde University. I am also an affiliate member of the Suicidal Behaviour Research Lab at the University of Glasgow. My secondary interest is the understanding of vaccine hesitancy in high-risk groups including those who lived with a chronic health condition.


Has expertise in:

    • Public health psychology
    • Risk and protective factors for suicide and self-harm 
    • Cross-cultural studies of suicidal behaviour
    • Vaccination behaviour and vaccine hesitancy
    • Psychological aspects of infection prevention and control



BA Hons in Psychology (University of Strathclyde)

PhD in Health Psychology (University of Stirling)

PG Certificate in advanced academic studies (university of Strathclyde).

Professional memberships:

  • Registered with the Health Professions Council (CPsychol)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS).
  • Member of the International Academy for Suicide Research.
  • International Affiliate of the American Psychological Association.
  • Member of the American Association of Suicide.
  • Member of the British Psychological Society, Division of Health Psychology. 
  • Affiliate member of the Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory, University of Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Affiliate member of the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Lab, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA.


The influence of stigma and trust in young people seeking support for their own or a friend's symptoms : the role of threat appraisals
Pimenta Sofia M, Hunter Simon C, Rasmussen Susan
Child and Youth Care Forum Vol 52, pp. 559-581 (2023)
Examination of the factor structure of the entrapment scale within a military population
Baker Justin, Cacase Sam, Cramer Robert, Rasmussen Susan, Martin Christina, Bryan AnnaBelle, Bryan Craig
Suicide Research Symposium (2023)
Suicide Thoughts and Behaviour in Later Life
Hafford-Letchfield Trish, Gleeson Helen, Ellmers Toby, Rasmussen Susan, Cogan Nicola, Goodman Jolie, Hanna Jeffrey
The support needs of people bereaved by suicide in later life : a comparative thematic analysis of older adults and professionals' perspectives
Cogan Nicola, Hanna Jeffrey, Hafford-Letchfield Trish, Rasmussen Susan, Grant Evan, Goodman Jolie, Ryder-Davies Lesley
Trinity Health and Education International Research Conference 2023 (THEconf2023) (2023)
Barriers and enablers to influenza vaccination uptake in adults with chronic respiratory conditions : applying the behaviour change wheel to specify multi-levelled tailored intervention content
Gallant Allyson J, Flowers Paul, Deakin Karen, Cogan Nicola, Rasmussen Susan, Young David, Williams Lynn
Psychology and Health Vol 38, pp. 147-166 (2023)
Adapting mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for Chinese international students experiencing loneliness : a qualitative, participatory action research project complemented with imagery
Liu X, Chau Y, Cogan Nicola, Rasmussen S, Tse D, Kelly S, Anderson A, Flynn C, Tang Z, Ren J, Zhao H
NRS Mental Health Network Annual Scientific Meeting 2022 (2022)

More publications


I teach across the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum and I currently lead two undergraduate classes on individual differences and Introduction to Mental Health Difficulties. I am the Associate Dean Undergraduate for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and I am particularly interested in how we support our students' well-being. I run induction sessions for the incoming and continuing students on the faculty's BA degree, and I also contribute to open days.

Research interests

I am a health psychologist with in interest in health behaviours. My primary research interest focusses on conducting research which will inform and create suicide prevention opportunities. The work includes the testing and adaptation of theoretical models of suicide with a focus on identifying unique suicide resilience and risk factors across diverse populations, and across the lifespan. My work specifically attempts to understand why someone might start to feel suicidal, when those thoughts are translated into suicidal behaviours, and to identify opportunities to stop these thoughts and behaviours. My second research interest is understanding the barriers and facilitators of vaccination behaviours, as well as behaviours during disease epidemics. This research has focussed on understanding the factors which impact key health protective behaviours such as handwashing, as well as to understand the psychological processes involved in individual decision making in relation to getting vaccinated against e.g. the flu or COVID-19.

Professional activities

The Samaritans (External organisation)
NHS Health Research Authority Ethics Committee (External organisation)
Feeling Sad, Angry, or Scared: An Investigation of Gender Differences in the Regulation of Specific Emotions during an Emotion Regulation Task, and their Relationship with Mental Health
Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy (Journal)
Associate Editor
Public webinar: 'Improving Vaccine Uptake in Scotland: Implications for COVID-19, influenza and other adult vaccines.'
The consortium of European research on emotion

More professional activities


Insecure Employment and Suicide in Scotland
Rasmussen, Susan (Principal Investigator) Russell, Kirsten (Co-investigator) Cogan, Nicola (Co-investigator) Heap, Daniel (Research Co-investigator)
The aim of the project is to more fully understand the link between employment and financial instability and experiences of suicidal thinking and behaviour for people living in Scotland. In line with the tender, and as a result of adopting a mixed methods approach to the project we are proposing to focus our research questions on exploring what the links are between employment and

financial instability and, importantly, why these links exist. More specifically we wish to explore the following questions:

· What are the experiences of employment and financial instability in Scotland, and do those experiences link to suicidal thinking and behaviours?

· What are the temporal dynamics of the experiences of suicidal thinking and behaviours for individuals living in Scotland who experience employment and financial instability?

· Can we use the risk and protective variables specified by a key theory of suicidal thinking and behaviour to understand how employment and financial instability is linked to suicidal thinking and behaviours?
Stage-gate funds for Industry Engagement & Commercialisation support (stage 2)
Cogan, Nicola (Principal Investigator) Kirk, Alison (Principal Investigator) Rasmussen, Susan (Principal Investigator)
Awarded 10k funding from gate 2 industry engagement and commercialisation for development of Sentinel
01-Jan-2022 - 22-Jan-2023
Students' perceptions of success
Findlay, Kellyanne (Principal Investigator) Rasmussen, Susan (Research Co-investigator) Williams, Damien (Research Co-investigator) Mawson, Suzanne (Research Co-investigator) Casulli, Lucrezia (Research Co-investigator)
This research project will investigate students' perceptions of success, with a particular focus on students from diverse communities.
Exploring Chinese international students’ understanding of loneliness to inform cultural adaptation of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)
Liu, Xi (Principal Investigator) Anderson, Tony (Co-investigator) Cogan, Nicola (Co-investigator) Kelly, Stephen (Co-investigator) Rasmussen, Susan (Co-investigator) Tse, Dwight (Co-investigator)
31-Jan-2021 - 30-Jan-2022
Learning from failure project
Findlay, Kellyanne (Principal Investigator) Rasmussen, Susan (Co-investigator) McGilvray, Lisa (Co-investigator) Williams, Damien (Co-investigator)
A mixed methods pedagogical research project exploring the role of "failure" on student learning. The project seeks to understand student perceptions of failure, and how it influences learning.
Improving older adults' vaccination uptake: are existing measures of vaccine hesitancy valid and reliabe for older people?
Williams, Lynn (Principal Investigator) Brown Nicholls, Louise (Co-investigator) Cogan, Nicola (Co-investigator) Rasmussen, Susan (Co-investigator) Young, David (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2020

More projects