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Science News About Suicide Prevention

Most Individuals Receive Health Services a Year Before Suicide Death

Science Update

female doctor taking notes

Undetected suicide risk is a critical issue in primary care. According to a NIMH-funded study published in the February 2014 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, 83 percent of individuals received health care services in the year prior to suicide death and half did not have a mental health diagnosis.

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Brain Region Singled Out for Social Memory, Possible Therapeutic Target for Select Brain Disorders

Science Update

highlighted CA2 region of hippocampus in mouse brain

The hippocampus houses learning and memory—specifically the storage of knowledge of who, what, where, and when. Using a special transgenic mouse, researchers have now pinpointed a hippocampal region called CA2 that is important for social memory, the ability of animal to recognize another of the same species. Understanding this region could be useful in understanding and treating disorders characterized by altered social behaviors such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism.

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Suicide in the Military: Army-NIH Funded Study Points to Risk and Protective Factors

Press Release

Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS)

Although the suicide attempt and death rates in the U.S. Army have been historically below the civilian rate, these rates began climbing in the early 2000s, and by 2008, exceeded those of civilians. A joint study between the Army and NIMH, called Army STARRS, recently released findings that shed light on the problem.

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NIMH Twitter Chat on Suicide Prevention

Science Update

NIMH Twitter Chat

To commemorate World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, 2013, NIMH will host a twitter chat on the topic.

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Jane Pearson Talks About Suicide Prevention Research on NPR’s Science Friday

Science Update

Jane Pearson Gives Update on Suicide Prevention Research

NIMH scientist Dr. Jane Pearson appeared on NPR’s Science Friday to discuss the latest findings in suicide prevention research.

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President Obama’s Executive Order Leads to National Research Action Plan

Science Update

Source: WhiteHouse.gov

President Obama announced the National Research Action Plan (NRAP)—a comprehensive approach to improve our understanding and treatment of mental health problems affecting veterans, service members, and their families.

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NAB Unveils Youth Mental Health Awareness Campaign

Science Update

OK2Talk Youth Mental Health Awareness Campaign

On Tuesday, July 23, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) launched “OK2Talk,” a mental health awareness campaign to increase understanding and awareness about mental health in youth. The campaign includes television and radio ads in English and Spanish that feature teens and young adults opening up about their experiences with mental health.

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DoD, VA, and HHS Report on Improving Mental Health Services for Military, Veterans, and Families

Science Update

Marine with toddler son

A new report from the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Health and Human Services outlines progress made toward improving mental health services for members of the military, veterans, and their families.

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Emergency Department Suicide Screening Tool Accurately Predicts At Risk Youth

Science Update

boy and doctor sitting at desk

Time-crunched ER nurses and doctors can use four questions to screen youth at risk for attempting suicide.

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Many Teens Considering Suicide Do Not Receive Specialized Mental Health Care

Science Update

teen girl sitting alone outside

Many teens who are thinking about or who have attempted suicide often do not see a mental health professional.

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President Obama Signs Executive Order to Improve Access to Mental Health Services for Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families

Science Update

White House logo.

President Obama signed an Executive Order directing key federal departments to expand suicide prevention strategies and take steps to meet the current and future demand for mental health and substance abuse treatment services for veterans, service members, and their families.

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Widely Used Screening Tool Shown to Successfully Predict Suicide Attempts

Science Update

man and woman in therapy session

A widely used suicide screening tool can help determine who is most at risk for suicide by pinpointing the threshold at which a person’s suicidal thinking is severe enough to warrant professional intervention, according to a recent study published online ahead of print November 8, 2011, in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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White House Names NIMH a “Champion of Change” for its Suicide Prevention Efforts

Science Update

White House logo.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) was named by the White House as a “Champion of Change” on August 25, 2011, for its efforts in supporting research on suicide prevention.

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Army STARRS Preliminary Data Reveal Some Potential Predictive Factors for Suicide

Science Update

Early examination of data from the U.S. Army’s Total Army Injury and Health Outcomes Database (TAIHOD) has revealed potential predictors of risk for suicide among soldiers. Preliminary results were provided by researchers leading the ongoing Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS). Army STARRS, a partnership between NIMH and the U.S. Army, is the largest study of mental health risk and resilience ever conducted among military personnel.

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Air Force Suicide Prevention Program Reduces Suicide Rate

Science Update

Air Force personnel in foreground, aircraft in background

A U.S. Air Force suicide prevention program is associated with reduced suicide rates among Air Force personnel during times in which the program was rigorously implemented and monitored, according to an NIMH-funded study published online ahead of print May 13, 2010, in the American Journal of Public Health.

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New Grant Aims to Identify and Reduce Suicide Among Emergency Department Patients

Science Update

hospital room scene with patient and doctors

A new NIMH-funded grant aims to increase suicide detection and prevention efforts among patients who present with suicide risk factors in hospital emergency departments.

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New Approach to Reducing Suicide Attempts Among Depressed Teens

Science Update

young man looking out window

A novel treatment approach that includes medication plus a newly developed type of psychotherapy that targets suicidal thinking and behavior shows promise in treating depressed adolescents who had recently attempted suicide, according to a treatment development and pilot study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The study, described in three articles, was published in the October 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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Evidence-Based Prevention is Goal of Largest Ever Study of Suicide in the Military

Press Release

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has announced that an interdisciplinary team of four research institutions will carry out the largest study of suicide and mental health among military personnel ever undertaken, with $50 million in funding from the U.S. Army. Study investigators aim to move quickly to identify risk and protective factors for suicide among soldiers and provide a science base for effective and practical interventions to reduce suicide rates and address associated mental health problems.

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Recovery Funds Will Support Evaluation of Suicide Prevention Training

Press Release

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to provide grant support for the completion of a project under way to evaluate the effectiveness of a new training program for telephone crisis counselors at suicide hotline centers.

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Black Teens, Especially Girls, at High Risk for Suicide Attempts

Science Update

Black American teens, especially females, may be at high risk for attempting suicide even if they have never been diagnosed with a mental disorder, according to researchers funded in part by NIMH. Their findings, based on responses from adolescent participants in the National Survey of American Life (NSAL), provide the first national estimates of suicidal thoughts and behaviors (ideation) and suicide attempts in 13- to 17-year-old black youth in the United States. The study was published in the March 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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Suicidal Thinking May Be Predicted Among Certain Teens with Depression

Science Update

Certain circumstances may predict suicidal thinking or behavior among teens with treatment-resistant major depression who are undergoing second-step treatment, according to an analysis of data from an NIMH-funded study. The study was published online ahead of print February 17, 2009, in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Getting Closer to Personalized Treatment for Teens with Treatment-resistant Depression

Science Update

Some teens with treatment-resistant depression are more likely than others to get well during a second treatment attempt of combination therapy, but various factors can hamper their recovery, according to an NIMH-funded study published online ahead of print February 4, 2009, in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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NIMH, U.S. Army Sign MOA to Conduct Groundbreaking Suicide Research

Science Update

NIMH and the U.S. Army have entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to conduct research that will help the Army reduce the rate of suicides.

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New Grant Aims to Reduce Rate of College Suicide by Helping Students Better Adjust

Science Update

A new grant funded by NIMH will test an intervention designed to prevent or reduce suicide among college students.

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Genes Linked to Suicidal Thinking During Antidepressant Treatment

Press Release

Specific variations in two genes are linked to suicidal thinking that sometimes occurs in people taking the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressants, according to a large study led by scientists at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

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Drops in SSRI prescription rates may coincide with increases in youth suicides

Science Update

A 2004 spike in suicide rates may have coincided with a drop in antidepressant prescriptions for youth, following warnings from U.S and European regulatory agencies that the medications might trigger suicidal thoughts.

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Male Veterans Have Double the Suicide Rate of Civilians

Science Update

Male veterans in the general U.S. population are twice as likely as their civilian peers to die by suicide, a large study shows

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Gene Variants Linked to Suicidal Thoughts in Some Men Starting Antidepressant Treatment

Science Update

Some men who experience suicidal thoughts and behaviors after they first start taking antidepressant medications may be genetically predisposed to do so, according to the latest results from the NIMH-funded Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study

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New Data on Suicidal Behaviors in Black Americans May Guide Interventions

Science Update

The prevalence of attempted suicide among black Americans is higher than previously reported, but near the levels reported for the general population.

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New NIMH Research Strives to Understand How Antidepressants May Be Associated with Suicidal Thoughts and Actions

Science Update

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health, is funding five new research projects that will shed light on antidepressant medications, notably selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and their association with suicidal thoughts and actions.

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U.S. Youth Suicide Rates Lower in Counties with High SSRI Use

Science Update

For children ages five to 14, suicide rates from 1996 to 1998 were lower in areas of the country with higher rates of antidepressant prescriptions, according to an NIMH-funded study published in the November 2006 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Targeted Therapy Halves Suicide Attempts in Borderline Personality Disorder

Science Update

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) reduced suicide attempts by half compared with other types of psychotherapy available in the community in patients with borderline personality disorder, an NIMH-funded study has found.

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Cognitive Therapy Reduces Repeat Suicide Attempts by 50 Percent

Press Release

Recent suicide attempters treated with cognitive therapy were 50 percent less likely to try to kill themselves again within 18 months than those who did not receive the therapy, report researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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“Care Managers” Help Depressed Elderly Reduce Suicidal Thoughts

Press Release

An intervention that includes staffing doctors’ offices with depression care managers helps depressed elderly patients reduce suicidal thoughts, a study funded by NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has found.

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