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and treatment of mental illnesses.

Suicide Prevention

Learn more about Suicide Prevention.

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Featured Studies

Featured studies include only those currently recruiting participants. Studies with the most recent start date appear first.

Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ) for Youth With Autism Spectrum and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: September 30, 2021
Locations: Baltimore, Maryland; Bethesda, Maryland
Eligibility: Ages 8–17, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

Background:

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10-24 years. There is no gold standard for evaluating suicidal thoughts and behaviors in young people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD). Also, youth with ASD/NDD are often excluded from many research studies. Because of this, researchers need more data. They want to make sure they are asking the best questions for young people in clinics such as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) clinic. They want to make sure they have the best data to determine if a person is at risk for hurting or killing himself or herself.

Objective:

To develop and assess the efficacy of a suicide screening tool for people with ASD/NDD.

Eligibility:

Youth ages 8 to 17 who are engaged in assessment or treatment at the NIMH for ASD or other NDD

Design:

Participants will fill out 4 questionnaires during a 1-hour meeting with study staff. They will answer questions about how they have been feeling. They will be asked if they think about or plan to hurt or kill themselves. They will also be asked if they have ever thought about it or planned it in the past. Other questions will assess their understanding of death. Participants can take a break if needed.

Parents of the participants will be asked similar questions.

Parents will be informed if their child has current thoughts of suicide.

About 1 week after the initial assessment, parents will be contacted to fill out a follow-up questionnaire. It will take about 10 minutes to complete.

Long-term Observation of Participants With Mood Disorders

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: September 30, 2021
Location: Bethesda, Maryland
Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Background:

More than 12,000 people have taken part in research at the Experimental Therapeutics & Pathophysiology Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health Intramural Program. This has led to advances in the treatment of depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide risk. Researchers want to follow up with this group to see if they continue to have mental health symptoms and receive psychiatric treatments.

Objective:

To learn the long-term impact of depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide risk.

Eligibility:

Adults ages 18 and older who signed consent for Protocol 01-M-0254 over a year ago.

Design:

This study has 2 phases: an online phase and a telephone phase. It has no in-person or face-to-face contact.

In Phase 1, participants will fill out online surveys. They will access the surveys through the study website. The questions will focus on their current thoughts and feelings. The surveys will also ask about their current treatments for their mental health symptoms. At the end of the surveys, they will be asked if they would like to take part in Phase 2. If so, they will mark yes. Phase 2 includes a phone interview. They will be contacted by email to schedule the interview.

In Phase 2, participants will be asked more in-depth questions about how they are feeling. They will also be asked which psychiatric medicines and treatments they have used since they left NIH.

In both phases, participants can skip any questions they do not want to answer.

The online surveys will take 30 minutes to complete. The phone interview will last 1-4 hours.

The information that participants give in this study may be linked to their other NIH research records.

Development of a Video-based Intervention for Suicide Prevention

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: July 29, 2021
Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

The investigators will develop a brief video-based intervention for suicide prevention, called LifePlans. LifePlans will be tested in an initial open trial (n = 10) to examine its feasibility and acceptability. Investigators will recruit patients admitted to a psychiatric hospital for suicidal thoughts and behaviors who will receive the intervention for 4 weeks post-discharge. Patients will be assessed at hospital baseline, 1 month post-discharge, and 6 months post-discharge.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Following Esketamine for Major Depression and Suicidal Ideation for Relapse Prevention

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: March 5, 2021
Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Eligibility: Ages 18–65, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

This is a rater-blinded, randomized controlled trial. All patients will receive esketamine for treatment of Major Depression with Suicidal Ideation (MDSI). Subjects will be randomized (1:1) to receive CBT (computer-assisted) or TAU alone following esketamine.

MicroRNA Correlates of Childhood Maltreatment and Suicidality

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: February 26, 2021
Locations: Birmingham, Alabama; Huntsville, Alabama
Eligibility: Ages 18–60, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

This is a research study to find out if childhood trauma and stress are associated with depression or suicidal risk. The study will assess the effects of both short-term and long-term stress on biomarker (e.g. miRNA [MiRNA]) levels. miRNAs are a type of RNA (genetic material that is translated into protein) that are found in throughout the body and blood. They are called microRNA because their size is much smaller than typical RNA molecules. miRNAs are highly responsive to environment. This responsiveness is reflected in their expression in individuals who are affected by environment such as stress. The investigators are gathering genetic material, including DNA and RNA, from each participant. The RNA will be taken from the small vesicles and cells in the participant's blood and analyzed. The vesicles are small objects that occur normally in the blood and that contain RNA. This information may help us to understand the cause of mental illness and to improve medical and psychiatric care in the future. There will be 450 participants enrolled in this study.

CAMPUS - Feasibility Sub-Study

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: January 4, 2021
Locations: Reno, Nevada; New Brunswick, New Jersey; Durham, North Carolina; Eugene, Oregon
Eligibility: Ages 18–25, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among college students and suicidal ideation and suicide-related behaviors are a frequent presenting problem at college counseling centers (CCCs), which are overburdened. Studies show that some students respond rapidly to treatment, whereas others require considerably more resources. Evidence-based adaptive treatment strategies (ATSs) are needed to address this heterogeneity in responsivity and complexity. ATSs individualize treatment via decision rules specifying how the type and intensity of an intervention can be sequenced based on risk factors, response, or compliance.

The purpose of this multisite study is to investigate the effectiveness of four adaptive treatment strategies (ATSs) to treat college students who report suicidal ideation when first seeking services at their college counseling center This multisite study will enroll moderately to severely suicidal college students in the "emerging adulthood" phase (ages 18-25) seeking services at CCCs. This Sequential Multi-Assignment Randomized Trial (SMART) will have two stages of intervention. In Stage 1, 700 participants from four CCCs will be randomized to 4-8 weeks of: 1) a suicide-focused treatment - Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) or 2) Treatment as Usual (TAU). Sufficient responders to either intervention will discontinue services/be stepped down. Non-responders will be re-randomized to one of two Stage 2 higher intensity/dosage intervention options for an additional 4-16 weeks: 1) CAMS (either continued or administered for the first time) or 2) Comprehensive Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), which includes individual therapy, skills group, and phone/text coaching for the clients and peer consultation for the counselors.

IM Ketamine vs Midazolam for Suicidal ER Patients

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: January 2, 2021
Location: New York, New York
Eligibility: Ages 18–65, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

Rising US suicide rates and the increased risk of suicide among persons who visit an emergency department (ED) for suicidality make the ED an important site for interventions to prevent suicide. There is no approved treatment for rapid relief of suicidal thoughts although clinical trials, including ours, show relief of suicidal thoughts within hours of treatment with inexpensive, generic, sub-anesthetic ketamine. We propose a clinical trial of intramuscular ketamine in depressed ED patients with high-risk suicidality, which if successful would support a novel, easy-to-use, scalable intervention for busy emergency clinicians to implement.

BRITEPath- Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: November 5, 2020
Locations: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Wexford, Pennsylvania; Seattle, Washington
Eligibility: Ages 12–26, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

BRITEPath (BP) aims to support co-located mental health clinicians in the development of a high quality, effective, and personalized safety plan for referred patients who screen positive for depression and/or suicidal ideation.

BRITEPath utilizes BRITE, a safety planning and emotion regulation app that is loaded on the patient's smart phone and has previously been shown to be well accepted and to reduce suicide attempts compared to usual care in psychiatric inpatients (HR = 0.49). To support mental health clinicians in the development of effective safety plans, study investigators will develop Guide2Brite (G2B), which provides step-by-step instructions for the mental health clinician on how to populate BRITE onto the patient's smartphone and BRITEBoard, a clinician dashboard that tracks patient symptoms, app use, and rating on helpfulness of different interventions assessed through BRITE.

Screening Wizard- Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: November 5, 2020
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Eligibility: Ages 12–26, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Screening Wizard (SW). Primary Care Providers (PCPs) are often uncertain about how to best refer adolescents who screen positive for depression or suicidality. Screen-positive youth who are either not in treatment, or express dissatisfaction with current treatment will be consented by an on-site research assistant (RA). Participants will answer questions via adaptive screens developed in a previous NIMH study (MH100155) for suicidal risk, anxiety, and mania. These will address perceived barriers and preferences about treatment. Participants are then randomized into 1 of 3 groups: 1) Providing the symptoms scores report of results to their provider based on their Screening Wizard responses (Screening as Usual); 2) Providing the symptoms scores report and their responses to treatment preferences and barriers including treatment recommendations their provider might suggest (Screening Wizard 2.0); or 3) Providing the report with treatment recommendations to their provider and a website called SOVA or Supporting Our Valued Adolescent, that is aimed at addressing perceptions about mental health providing support to teens through peer interaction that social workers and doctors moderate on a 24 hour a day basis (Screening Wizard 2.0 + SOVA).

Text 2 Connect- Texting Intervention for Mental Health Treatment Utilization

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: October 1, 2020
Locations: McMurray, Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

Text2Connect (T2C) proposes to test a text-based intervention designed to improve engagement with mental health treatment.

Suicide in Urban Natives: Detection and Networks to Combat Events

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: March 15, 2020
Locations: Albuquerque, New Mexico; Seattle, Washington
Eligibility: Ages 18–34, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

This study compares the effectiveness of a program to detect and manage suicide risk among American-Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth. Half of the participants will receive caring text messages to reduce suicidal thoughts, attempts, and hospitalizations and to increase engagement, social connectedness, and resilience in at-risk youth. The other half will receive usual care that does not include the caring text messages.

Engaging Black Youth in Depression and Suicide Prevention Treatment Within Urban Schools

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: January 31, 2020
Location: New York, New York
Eligibility: Ages 12–18, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Completing evidence-based treatments for depression has been shown to be particularly problematic for Black adolescents. If Black adolescents' depression treatment needs are to be met, the engagement challenges and the factors that lessen the success of treatment in the "real world" must be addressed. The investigators will examine the effectiveness of the Making Connections Intervention (MCI) and investigate key mediators of both engagement and response to treatment for depression. The MCI is a 1-2 session, evidence-based intervention designed to improve engagement, perceived relevance, and treatment satisfaction among depressed, Black adolescents. The study also uses tailored outreach strategies for adolescents and parents by including innovative digital content such as a web page/app along with other digital products.

This study will address an important public health issue: How best to connect Black adolescents with depression to treatment in clinically meaningful ways, and how best to deliver evidence-based treatment to them through school-based services.

Wa'Kan Ye'Zah: Enhancing Caregivers' and Children's Well-being Through an Evidence-based and Culturally Informed Prevention Intervention

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: November 18, 2019
Location: Poplar, Montana
Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

The overall goal of this study is to develop, adapt and evaluate an intergenerational prevention intervention, named "Wa'Kan Ye'Zah (Little Holy One)," with Native American caregivers on a Northern Plains reservation and the caregivers' 3-to-5-year-old children. The intervention aims to: 1) reduce symptoms of historical trauma and everyday stress among parents/caregivers, 2) improve parenting, and 3) improve children's emotional and behavioral developmental outcomes to reduce future risk for suicide and substance use.

A Longitudinal Study of Inflammatory Pathways in Depression

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: October 1, 2019
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

Suicide accounts for at least 1 million deaths globally each year. This is likely a significant underestimate, because suicide is under-reported in many countries. In the US, over 42,000 people die from suicide annually. Despite increased focus on identification and treatment, the rate of suicide has increased steadily over the past 15 years.

Our project aims both to improve our understanding of factors that increase the risk for suicide by comparing blood biomarkers associated with inflammation in patients with depression without suicidal behavior and patients with depression and suicidal behavior. The 160 individuals in this study will be followed with psychiatric assessments and blood samples at repeated time points over one year.

Promoting Community Conversations About Research to End Native Youth Suicide in Rural Alaska

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: September 12, 2019
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Eligibility: Ages 15 and Older, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

This intervention study will measure the outcomes of the PC CARES (Promoting Community Conversations about Research to End Suicide) curriculum implemented in 9 rural Alaskan villages. It will compare pre-post data from intervention participants to non-participants, and will analyze social networks related to suicide prevention behavior in each village. Researchers will work with local service providers and other partners to recruit facilitators who will be trained in implementing the 4 session PC CARES curriculum.

BRITEPath, Component 3 of iCHART (Integrated Care to Help At-Risk Teens)

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: August 6, 2019
Locations: Detroit, Michigan; Hyde Park, New York; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Seattle, Washington
Eligibility: Ages 12–26, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

BRITEPath (BP) aims to support co-located mental health clinicians in the development of a high quality, effective, and personalized safety plan for referred patients who screen positive for depression and/or suicidal ideation.

BRITEPath utilizes BRITE, a safety planning and emotion regulation app that is loaded on the patient's smart phone and has previously been shown to be well accepted and to reduce suicide attempts compared to usual care in psychiatric inpatients (HR = 0.49). To support mental health clinicians in the development of effective safety plans, study investigators will develop Guide2Brite (G2B), which provides step-by-step instructions for the mental health clinician on how to populate BRITE onto the patient's smartphone and BRITEBoard, a clinician dashboard that tracks patient symptoms, app use, and rating on helpfulness of different interventions assessed through BRITE.

Text2Connect, Component 2 of iCHART (Integrated Care to Help At-Risk Teens)

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: May 28, 2019
Locations: McMurray, Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Eligibility: Ages 12–26, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

This study proposes to develop and examine a personalized, text-based intervention designed to improve engagement with mental health (MH) treatment.

Safety Planning in Juvenile Justice for Suicidal Youth

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: January 1, 2019
Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Eligibility: Ages 12–18, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

This study will examine the feasibility and acceptability of a program designed to conduct safety planning with youth in the juvenile justice system who are at risk for a suicide attempt and/or self-injury and to increase the possibility of them receiving outpatient mental health treatment. After training staff in the intervention, the investigators will pilot test the safety planning intervention and gather information on how well it worked on reducing self-harm, getting families to follow up with referrals for mental health care, and how often they attend treatment.

Confirmatory Efficacy and Safety Trial of Magnetic Seizure Therapy for Depression

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: June 26, 2018
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

This trial aims to assess the efficacy and tolerability of Magnetic Seizure Therapy (MST) as an alternative to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for depression. Even with multiple medication trials, 30 - 40% of patients will experience a pharmacologically resistant form of illness. The ineffectiveness of current treatments for major depressive disorder (MDD) coupled with the economic burden associated with the disorder engenders a need for novel therapeutic interventions that can provide greater response and remission rates.

Caring Contacts: A Strength-based, Suicide Prevention Trial in 4 Native Communities

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: May 30, 2018
Locations: Poplar, Montana; Tahlequah, Oklahoma
Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for American Indians and Alaska Natives aged 18 years and older. This study will evaluate Caring Contacts, a low-cost, sustainable intervention for suicide prevention that sends caring messages to people at risk. The investigators will implement the intervention at four tribal sites, leveraging community strengths and values to address this tragic health disparity in an underserved minority population.

Wearable Suicidal Early Warning System for Adolescents

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: September 18, 2017
Location: Portland, Oregon
Eligibility: Ages 13–19,

This study is prospectively enrolling a cohort of adolescent patients who present to the Emergency Department and an inpatient psychiatric adolescent unit with acute suicidality.

Neurobiology of Suicide

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: December 1, 2015
Location: Bethesda, Maryland
Eligibility: Ages 18–70, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Background:

There are no good treatments for people considering suicide. Researchers want to study suicide with questions, blood tests, brain imaging, and sleep studies. They hope to better understand suicide, so they can help suicidal people.

Objective:

To understand what happens in the brain when someone has thought about or attempted suicide.

Eligibility:

Group 1: Adults ages 18 70 who have thought about or attempted suicide recently

Group 2: Adults ages 18 70 who have thought about or attempted suicide in the past

Group 3: Adults ages 18 70 who have depression or anxiety, but have never thought about suicide

Group 4: Healthy volunteers the same ages.

Design:

Participants will be screened in another protocol. Adults who have recently thought about or attempted suicide must be referred by a doctor. They may do up to 3 phases of this study. Groups 2, 3 and 4 will do only Phase 1 and will not get ketamine.

Phase 1: 1 week in hospital. Participants will have:

Physical exam.

Questions about thoughts and feelings.

Thinking and memory tests and simple tasks.

Blood and urine tests.

Two MRI scans. Participants will lie on a table that slides into a metal cylinder that takes pictures. They will have a coil over their head and earplugs and do a computer task.

Sleep test. Disks and bands will be placed on the body to monitor it during sleep.

Magnetic detectors on their head while they perform tasks.

A wrist monitor for activity and sleep.

Lumbar puncture (optional). A needle will collect fluid from the back.

Shock experiments (optional). Participants will observe pictures and sounds and feel a small shock on the hand.

Phase 2: 4 days in hospital. A thin plastic tube will be placed in each arm, one for blood draws, the other to get the drug ketamine once. Participants will repeat most of the Phase 1 tests.

Phase 3: up to 4 more ketamine doses over 2 weeks.

Participants will have follow-up calls or visits at 6 months and then maybe yearly for 5 years.

Effectiveness of Empowerment Group Sessions for Treating Suicidal African American Women in Abusive Relationships

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: March 31, 2008
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Eligibility: Females, Ages 18–64, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

This study will evaluate the effectiveness of culturally competent psychoeducational empowerment sessions in treating suicidal African-American women who are in abusive relationships.