Hilary Causer

Hilary Causer

PhD Student

Research Degree Students

Contact Details

email: cauh1_14@uni.worc.ac.uk
tel: +44 (0)1905 54 2328

Hilary is a full-time PhD candidate in the School of Allied Health and Community. She is a qualitative researcher who strives to use research to create platforms for previously unheard voices and to produce research outputs that are accessible and useful in both practice and policy settings.


“A critical exploration of staff experiences and roles following a student death by suicide within the United Kingdom Higher Education Institutions”

Study 1: A systematic review in the form of a qualitative research synthesis that addresses the question: “What are the features of the experiences of workers in health, education or social care roles following the death by suicide of a client, patient, student or service user?’. This study has been published and is available here: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/16/18/3293

Study 2: A grounded theory study exploring the experiences of staff members across a range of job-roles in UK HEIs following a student death by suicide. Data has been collected via an online survey and semi-structured interviews.

Hilary will be submitting her thesis in the summer of 2020.

Director of Studies: Professor Eleanor Bradley  Study Supervisor: Dr Kate Muse.

Additional Research Experience 

  • Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: Research study for MSc Dissertation: Exploring perceptions of counselling clients regarding the helpfulness of their contributions to the counselling process. 
  • Co-author & Quality Assessment Interrater of articles for inclusion in a Meta-Synthesis (in press). The synthesis explores perceptions of self-identity follow traumatic brain injury. 
  • Contribution to ethical application for a student peer support project. 
  • Contribution to funding application for a PGR student mental health project. 

Other projects 

Whilst undertaking her PhD Hilary has also contributed to the wider university community at Worcester through the following activities  

  • Member of the University of Worcester Suicide Safer Project Group. 
  • Member of the Postgraduate Researcher Mental Health & Wellbeing Task & Finish Group. 
  • Founding member of the University of Worcester Staff Mental Health Network. 

Within the wider Higher Education and Research communities Hilary is:- 

  • Member of the Higher Education Student Suicide Prevention Community of Practice. 
  • Member of netECR; an online global community of Early Career Researchers in suicide and self-harm. 

Prior to commencing her PhD, Hilary worked in both the third sector and for her local authority within child protection and young peoples’ mental health settings. Her roles included delivering front line support to children, young people and families in the community; managing a volunteer family support service; setting up and managing a counselling support service; setting up and delivering a young peoples’ online support service; lead practitioner with responsibilities around safeguarding, learning and development & service evaluation. 



BSc (Hons) Social Science, 2001, Open University 

HNC Counselling Skills, 2005, Herefordshire College of Technology 

MSc Counselling Psychology, 2016, University of Worcester 

HEA Associate Fellowship, 2018, University of Worcester 



Research Papers 

Causer, H., Muse, K., Smith, J., & Bradley, E. (2019). What Is the Experience of Practitioners in Health, Education or Social Care Roles Following a Death by Suicide? A Qualitative Research Synthesis. International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health 16, 3293. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183293  

Conference Presentations 

Causer, H., Smith, J., Muse, J., & Bradley, E. (2019, September). After a Student Suicide. Symposium: Higher Education Student Suicide Prevention & Postvention. Presented at IASP 2019 International Congress. Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland. 

Causer, H., Muse, K., Smith, J., & Bradley, E. (2019, June). After a Client Suicide: The experience of health, social care and education workers. Presented at Early & Mid Career Researcher Forum 2019, University of Glasgow. 

Causer, H., Muse, K., Smith, J., & Bradley, E. (2019, May). After a Client Suicide: A qualitative research synthesis. Presented at JBI European Regional Symposium, University of Cardiff 

Causer, H., Muse, K., Smith, J., & Bradley, E. (2018, November). After a Student Suicide: Using Grounded Theory to explore staff experiences. Presented at Grounded Theory Network Symposium, Liverpool John Moores University 

Causer, H., Muse, K., Smith, J., & Bradley, E. (2018, July). After a Student Suicide: Exploring experiences of staff in UK HEIs. Presented at Seeds of Knowledge Post Graduate Research Conference, University of Worcester. 

Causer, H., Muse, K., Smith, J., & Bradley, E. (2019). After a Student Suicide: Experiences and Roles of staff in UK HEIs. Presented at Releasing Potential Student Mental Health Conference, York St John University.