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Suicide Prevention and Implementation Research Initiative (SPIRIT)

SPIRIT mapLeadership

Contact Principal Investigator: Soumitra Pathare, M.D., D.P.M., MRCPsych, Ph.D.
Principal Investigators: Lakshmi Vijayakumar, M.D., Ph.D., Laura Shields-Zeeman, Ph.D.

Hub Activity Sites

India
Gujarat
Bangladesh

Project Overview

SPIRIT is a research partnership that aims to bridge the gap between scientific evidence and practice in suicide prevention and mental health interventions in India and Bangladesh. SPIRIT will be implemented by the Indian Law Society, Pune, India; in collaboration with Trimbos Institute, Netherlands; Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre, Chennai, India; Gujarat Institute for Mental Health & Hospital for Mental Health, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India; and the Bangladesh Center for Communication Programs, Bangladesh. The project is supported by the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Gujarat, and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. The project has received approval from the Health Ministry Screening Committee of the Government of India.

Suicide is a major social and public health concern in South Asia. There is high suicide rate among young people in India, and self-poisoning using pesticides is one of the commonest means of suicide in India and Bangladesh. Many specific suicide prevention interventions have been found effective in research studies but have either not been translated into meaningful care outcomes or not implemented together as a package in communities at scale.

SPIRIT aims to address this gap by researching the implementation process of an integrated suicide prevention intervention in a community setting at scale. It aims to reduce suicidal ideation among targeted adolescents, rate of suicides in the intervention villages in Mahesana District of Gujarat, and build capacity of health workers in suicide prevention measures. It also aims to empower regional policy makers in Gujarat to integrate evidence generated from implemented research on suicide.

Implementation Research Study

SPIRIT will implement and evaluate an integrated suicide prevention intervention through a cluster randomized controlled trial in 120 villages of Mahesana district in Gujarat. The integrated intervention includes three evidence based sub-interventions. The first sub-intervention is based in schools where trained facilitators will deliver a culturally adapted Youth Aware of Mental Health Program. The second sub-intervention consists of encouraging community members to use centralized storage units of pesticides. The third sub-intervention consists of training primary, community and lay health workers in identifying, reaching and providing support to those exhibiting high-risk behaviour in their communities and where necessary, refer them for appropriate specialized support.

Research Capacity Building

SPIRIT will organize a one-year Implementation Science Research Fellowship Program for health care researchers and policy makers, as well as training modules and short-term online courses for other mental health sector stakeholders.

Project website: Coming soon