Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Dr Sarah McKenzie

Sarah_McKenzie_profileBSc (Hons), DPH, MPH, PhD

Senior Research Fellow, Suicide and Mental Health Research Group

Contact details

Email sarah.mckenzie@otago.ac.nz

Research interests and activities

Sarah is a mental health and suicide researcher with a strong interest in men’s mental health and suicide. She recently completed her PhD examining the links between masculinities and men’s everyday mental health experiences, emotional practices and social support. Prior to her PhD, Sarah had been working as a Research Fellow on a range of projects in the areas of mental health inequalities and the social determinants of mental health, primary mental health care, suicide and suicide prevention/intervention. She completed her Master’s in Public Health at Otago University and her undergraduate degree at Glasgow University.

Current projects

Through the Eyes of Men: Towards a more critical understanding of men’s mental health in New Zealand (2019-2022)

Dr Sarah McKenzie, Professor John Oliffe, Professor Sunny Collings

Marsden logo 226px This multidisciplinary three year study will provide the first in-depth gender analysis of how dominant ideas about ‘how to be a man’ in NZ society impact on young men’s mental health, leaving some at far greater risk of taking their own lives. Informed by critical gender theory and mental health geography, this project uses visual methods to enable men to photograph their lived experiences of depression, anxiety and suicidality. The rich gender analysis of images and stories will provide original insights into how young men’s mental health-related beliefs and behaviours are influenced by dominant ideas of masculinity, as well as how particular gendered space and places may help or hinder the ways in which men cope when going through crisis.

‘Boys don’t cry’: Understanding masculinity and mental health-related stigma among men (2018-2020)

Dr Sarah McKenzie

Currently, 75% of suicides in New Zealand are among men. Despite this higher rate, there is a dearth of research examining the perspectives and experiences of men at risk of suicide, particularly in terms of understanding how the gendered aspects of men’s lives can put some men at greater risk of dying by suicide. To date, much of the research on men’s suicide has focused on risk factors with long-standing epidemiological evidence that suicide is a significant men’s health issue. Yet, this focus on risk factors limits our understanding of the social complexity of suicide. This research examines whether a gender perspective on men’s experiences of mental health-related stigma could expand our understanding of higher suicide rates among men. This research is funded by a Health Sciences Postdoctoral fellowship.

13 Reasons Why: Dangerous sensationalism or opening up the suicide conversation? Examining young people’s perspectives (2017-2018)

Dr Sarah McKenzie, Dr Gabrielle Jenkin, Professor Sunny Collings

Current public debate on youth suicide, in the context of the recently released Netflix suicide drama ‘13 Reasons Why’, suggests a need to document and understand young people’s perspectives on suicide. This study will involve interviewing teenagers about their views on the dramatisation of adolescent suicide in the Netflix series. This research will provide new insights to inform youth suicide prevention in NZ including guidance around the fictional media depiction of suicide. This research is funded by the University of Otago.

Major physical health conditions and risk of suicide among men (2017-2018)

Dr Sarah McKenzie, June Atkinson, Dalice Sim, Professor Sunny Collings

The latest coroner’s statistics show 75% of suicide deaths in the last year were males, with the rate three times that of females. Despite this, our knowledge about men who die by suicide in New Zealand and the contributing risk factors for suicidal behaviour remains limited. This lack of knowledge has significant implications for identifying key intervention points for suicide prevention in order to reduce suicides. This case-control study will investigate the links between major physical health conditions, health service use, receipt of health related benefits and suicide risk in adult men using data in the Integrated Data Infrastructure held by Statistics New Zealand.

^ Top of page

Publications

McKenzie, S. K., Collings, S., Jenkin, G., & River, J. (2018). Masculinity, social connectedness, and mental health: Men's diverse patterns of practice. American Journal of Men's Health. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/1557988318772732

Collings, S., Jenkin, G., Stanley, J., McKenzie, S., & Hatcher, S. (2018). Preventing suicidal behaviours with a multilevel intervention: A cluster randomised controlled trial. BMC Public Health, 18, 140. doi: 10.1186/s12889-018-5032-6

McKenzie, S. K., Li, C., Jenkin, G., & Collings, S. (2017). Ethical considerations in sensitive suicide research reliant on non-clinical researchers. Research Ethics, 13(3-4), 173-183. doi: 10.1177/1747016116649996

McKenzie, S. (2017, November). Understanding men's suicide, mental health, and wellbeing. Verbal presentation at the Men's Health Conference: Meeting the Challenges, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Carter, K., Filoche, S., & McKenzie, S. (2017). Alcohol and young people: A descriptive analysis of changes in alcohol use in young New Zealanders from 2004 to 2009. Commissioned by Health Promotion Agency. Wellington, New Zealand. 72p.

Commissioned Report for External Body

Carter, K., Filoche, S., & McKenzie, S. (2017). Alcohol and young people: A descriptive analysis of changes in alcohol use in young New Zealanders from 2004 to 2009. Commissioned by Health Promotion Agency. Wellington, New Zealand. 72p.

Carter, K., Filoche, S., & McKenzie, S. (2017). Alcohol and young people: A review of New Zealand and other international literature. Commissioned by Health Promotion Agency. Wellington, New Zealand. 82p.

Suicide Mortality Review Committee, including Jenkin, G., Atkinson, J., McKenzie, S., Peterson, D., Collings, S., & Mulder, R. (2016). Nga- Ra-hui Hau Kura Suicide Mortality Review Committee Feasibility Study 2014–15. Commissioned by Ministry of Health. Wellington, New Zealand: Health Quality & Safety Commission.

McKenzie, S., Carter, K., & Filoche, S. (2014). Alcohol and older people: A descriptive analysis of changes in alcohol use in older New Zealanders from 2004 to 2009. Commissioned by Health Promotion Agency. Wellington, New Zealand: Health Promotion Agency. 71p.

McKenzie, S., Collings, S., & Dowell, T. (2013). Implementing a Toolkit for primary mental health care development: Case study with Hutt Valley District Health Board. Commissioned by Research Partnerships for New Zealand Health Delivery. Wellington, New Zealand: Social Psychiatry and Population Mental Health Research Unit, University of Otago. 100p.

Collings, S., Gandar, P., Dowell, A., Rees, D., McKenzie, S., & Currey, N. (2010). Toolkit for Primary Mental Health Care Development: Effective services for a sustainable future. Commissioned by Health Research Council. Wellington, New Zealand: University of Otago and Synergia Ltd. 247p.

Collings, S., McKenzie, S., Dowell, A. C., Currey, N., Gandar, P., & Rees, D. (2010). Toolkit for Primary Mental Health Care Development: Report. Commissioned by Health Research Council. Wellington, New Zealand: University of Otago and Synergia Ltd. 194p.

^ Top of page

Journal - Research Article

McKenzie, S. K., Collings, S., Jenkin, G., & River, J. (2018). Masculinity, social connectedness, and mental health: Men's diverse patterns of practice. American Journal of Men's Health. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/1557988318772732

Collings, S., Jenkin, G., Stanley, J., McKenzie, S., & Hatcher, S. (2018). Preventing suicidal behaviours with a multilevel intervention: A cluster randomised controlled trial. BMC Public Health, 18, 140. doi: 10.1186/s12889-018-5032-6

McKenzie, S. K., Li, C., Jenkin, G., & Collings, S. (2017). Ethical considerations in sensitive suicide research reliant on non-clinical researchers. Research Ethics, 13(3-4), 173-183. doi: 10.1177/1747016116649996

McKenzie, S. K., Jenkin, G., & Collings, S. (2016). Men's perspectives of common mental health problems: A metasynthesis of qualitative research. International Journal of Men's Health, 15(1), 80-104. doi: 10.3149/jmh.1501.80

McKenzie, S. K., Imlach Gunasekara, F., Richardson, K., & Carter, K. (2014). Do changes in socioeconomic factors lead to changes in mental health? Findings from three waves of a population based panel study. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 68, 253-260. doi: 10.1136/jech-2013-203013

van der Deen, F. S., Carter, K. N., McKenzie, S. K., & Blakely, T. (2014). Do changes in social and economic factors lead to changes in drinking behavior in young adults? Findings from three waves of a population based panel study. BMC Public Health, 14, 928. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-928

Imlach Gunasekara, F., Carter, K., & McKenzie, S. (2013). Income-related health inequalities in working age men and women in Australia and New Zealand. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 37(3), 211-217. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12061

McKenzie, S. K., & Carter, K. (2013). Does transition into parenthood lead to changes in mental health? Findings from three waves of a population based panel study. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 67(4), 339-345. doi: 10.1136/jech-2012-201765

Blakely, T., McKenzie, S., & Carter, K. (2013). Misclassification of the mediator matters when estimating indirect effects. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 67, 458-466. doi: 10.1136/jech-2012-201813

Carter, K. N., Imlach-Gunasekara, F., McKenzie, S. K., & Blakely, T. (2012). Differential loss of participants does not necessarily cause selection bias. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 36(3), 218-222. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2012.00867.x

Mckenzie, S. K., Carter, K. N., Blakely, T., & Ivory, V. (2011). Effects of childhood socioeconomic position on subjective health and health behaviours in adulthood: How much is mediated by adult socioeconomic position? BMC Public Health, 11, 269. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-11-269

Blakely, T., Ni Mhurchu, C., Jiang, Y., Matoe, L., Funaki-Tahifote, M., Eyles, H. C., Foster, R. H., McKenzie, S., & Rodgers, A. (2011). Do effects of price discounts and nutrition education on food purchases vary by ethnicity, income and education? Results from a randomised, controlled trial. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 65(10), 902-908. doi: 10.1136/jech.2010.118588

McKenzie, S., & Carter, K. (2010). Measuring Whānau: A review of longitudinal studies in New Zealand. MAI Review, 3. Retrieved from http://www.review.mai.ac.nz/index.php/MR/issue/view/17

McKenzie, S. K., Carter, K., Blakely, T., & Collings, S. (2010). The association of childhood socio-economic position and psychological distress in adulthood: Is it mediated by adult socio-economic position? Longitudinal & Life Course Studies, 1(4), 339-358.

La Flamme, A. C., Harvie, M., Kenwright, D., Cameron, K., Rawlence, N., Low, Y. S., & McKenzie, S. K. (2007). Chronic exposure to schistosome eggs reduces serum cholesterol but has no effect on atherosclerotic lesion development. Parasite Immunology, 29, 259-266. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3024.2007.00942.x

^ Top of page

Journal - Research Other

Jatrana, S., Carter, K., McKenzie, S., & Wilson, N. (2011). Binge drinking is patterned by demographic and socioeconomic position in New Zealand: Largest national survey to date [Letter]. New Zealand Medical Journal, 124(1345). Retrieved from http://journal.nzma.org.nz/journal/124-1345/4954/content.pdf

McKenzie, S. K., & Carter, K. N. (2009). Are retrospective measures of childhood socioeconomic position in prospective adult health surveys useful? [Roundtable: Lifecourse epidemiology]. Australasian Epidemiologist, 16(3), 22-24.

^ Top of page

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Gunasekara, F. I., Carter, K., & McKenzie, S. (2011). Differences in health and health inequalities between Australia and New Zealand: A working paper. Proceedings of the Hilda Survey “10th Anniversary” Research Conference. Retrieved from http://melbourneinstitute.com/miaesr/events/conferences/conferences_HILDA_2011.html

^ Top of page

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Carter, K., Gunasekara, F. I., McKenzie, S., & Blakely, T. (2011). Differential loss of participants does not necessarily cause selection bias. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 65(Suppl. 1), (pp. A180). doi: 10.1136/jech.2011.142976f.99

Blakely, T., Carter, K., & McKenzie, S. (2011). Fallibility in estimating indirect effects: Misclassification of the mediator matters more than collider bias. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 65(Suppl. 1), (pp. A11). doi: 10.1136/jech.2011.142976a.23

McKenzie, S. (2009). The association of childhood socioeconomic position and psychological distress: Is it mediated by adult socioeconomic position? Australasian Epidemiologist. 16(2), (pp. 37). [Abstract]

^ Top of page

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

McKenzie, S. (2017, November). Understanding men's suicide, mental health, and wellbeing. Verbal presentation at the Men's Health Conference: Meeting the Challenges, Dunedin, New Zealand.

McKenzie, S. (2010, August). Participation action research: Involvement of DHB in research on management of mental health conditions. Verbal presentation at the Rehabilitation & Disability Research Theme Colloquium, Wellington, New Zealand.

^ Top of page

Awarded Doctoral Degree

McKenzie, S. (2017). Understanding men's mental health: Gender relations and mental well-being (PhD). University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10523/7572

More publications...