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Suicide Prevention

Learn more about Suicide Prevention.

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For opportunities to participate in NIMH research on the NIH campus, visit the clinical research website. Travel and lodging assistance may be available.

Featured Studies

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

Suicide in Urban Natives: Detection and Networks to Combat Events

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: March 15, 2020
Location: 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.

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

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: August 6, 2019
Locations: 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.

Real-time Intervention for Suicide Risk Reduction

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: July 29, 2019
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

The goal of this study is to provide an initial pilot test of an Ecological Momentary Intervention (EMI) designed the reduce the distress associated with negative emotion among individuals at risk for suicide that pairs content from a smartphone with a wearable physiological monitor. Participants will be 25 suicidal adult inpatients who will complete three brief therapy sessions with a study therapist and then complete exercises associated with the study for the duration of the inpatient period and for 28 days after they leave the hospital.

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 Juvenile Justice

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: Dallas, Texas
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.

Ovarian Hormones and Suicide Risk

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: April 15, 2018
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Eligibility: Females, Ages 18–45, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

This within-person, crossover, 3-condition, placebo-controlled study compares the impact of three perimenstrual conditions on severity of suicidal symptoms in females with past-month suicidality but minimal risk of imminent suicide attempt. The three conditions are (1) perimenstrual withdrawal from estradiol only (during progesterone stabilization), (2) perimenstrual withdrawal from progesterone only (during estradiol stabilization), and (3) perimenstrual withdrawal from both estradiol and progesterone during placebo.

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


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.


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


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.


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.

miRNAs, Suicide, and Ketamine - Plasma Exosomal microRNAs as Novel Biomarkers for Suicidality and Treatment Outcome

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: April 20, 2015
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Eligibility: Ages 18–65, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

The purpose of this study is to examine whether neural-derived exosomal miRNAs are differentially expressed that are specific to suicidal ideation or behavior, and which by affecting specific miRNA targets and pathways, are associated with suicidal behavior and response to ketamine. The following groups of subjects will be examined: 1) major depressive disorder (MDD) with a recent suicide attempt (in past 2 weeks), 2) MDD with serious ideation (in the past 7 days) without recent suicide attempt (in the past 6 months), 3) MDD without clinically significant suicidal ideation (in the past 7 days) or recent suicide attempt (in the past 6 months), and 4) healthy controls. Both suicidal and non-suicidal MDD will be given ketamine (0.5 mg/kg, IV) and blood will be drawn at predose, 30 min, 180 min, 24 hours, and 14 days post-infusion to measure changes in miRNAs.