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Suicide Prevention

Featured Studies

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

  • Implementing a Brief Suicide Intervention for High Risk Youth With Front-Line Juvenile Justice Staff
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: December 1, 2016
    Location: Providence, Rhode Island
    Eligibility: Ages 12–17, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

    A youth's contact with the juvenile justice system represents an opportune moment for suicide screening and brief suicide intervention for indicated youth. This study will provide data on the novel implementation of an evidence-based brief suicide intervention, safety planning, administered by front-line juvenile court staff for suicidal court-involved non-incarcerated youth. Data will inform the dissemination and implementation of suicide brief interventions to be delivered by front-line staff at the time of mental health screening in the juvenile justice system. The proposed study is consistent with the NIMH Strategic Plan by testing an intervention for effectiveness in community settings (Strategy 3.3) and establishing a research-practice partnership to improve D&I of evidence-based MH services (4.2). The unique service delivery by JJ court staff also supports the NIMH goals to develop innovative service delivery models (Strategy 4.3) as well as validate a MH intervention for an underserved population (Strategy 4.1). This proposal also addresses the Healthy People 2020 goals of reducing suicide attempts (MHMD-2).

  • Biomarkers as Predictors of Suicidal Risk in Adolescents
    Study Type: Observational
    Start Date: December 1, 2016
    Location: Cleveland, Ohio
    Eligibility: Ages 12–18, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

    Suicide is one of the most devastating events in society at all levels. The primary goal of this study is to predict suicide in adolescents at risk. We will utilize blood biomarker measurement and clinical risk factor scales to develop a tool to identify adolescents at risk for suicide earlier, which will allow clinicians to prescribe timely treatment and prevent suicide.

  • Effectiveness of PTSD Treatment For Suicidal and Multi-Diagnostic Clients
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: February 1, 2016
    Location: Seattle, Washington
    Eligibility: Ages 12 and Older, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

    The present project has two primary aims: (1) to examine the effectiveness of a multi-component implementation strategy in improving adoption and adherence to the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Prolonged Exposure (DBT PE) protocol, and (2) to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of the DBT PE protocol in a sample of individuals receiving DBT in public mental health agencies. This study uses a hybrid type 2 effectiveness-implementation design to simultaneously test the clinical effectiveness of DBT + DBT PE and to evaluate an adaptive, multi-component implementation strategy. The effectiveness trial will use a quasi-experimental, controlled design to evaluate outcomes among DBT clients with PTSD who do versus do not receive the DBT PE protocol and outcomes will be benchmarked to those obtained in research settings.

  • Neurobiology of Suicide
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: September 5, 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 1, 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.

  • Suicide Prevention in Chinese Older Adults
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: October 1, 2014
    Location: Chicago, Illinois
    Eligibility: Ages 50 and Older, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

    This project aims to develop and refine a suicide intervention protocol, and pilot test a culturally tailored randomized control trial to reduce suicidal thoughts among U.S. Chinese older adults. During the first phase of the study, the investigators plan to invite the community advisory board and key stakeholders to participate in the iterative design and refinement of the study protocol. During the second phase of the project and after the initial screening and based on a specific set of inclusion criteria, the investigators will invite U.S. Chinese older adult to participate in a pilot randomized control trial of a culturally adapted intervention to reduce the frequency and intensity of suicidal thoughts in Chinese older adults. During the third phase of the project, the investigators plan to invite pilot intervention participants as well as key stakeholders and health care professionals on the cultural acceptability of the pilot intervention. Through the achievement of these objectives, the investigators will set the foundation to fully test a culturally adapted in-home intervention, which may be particularly suitable for Chinese older adults with suicidal thoughts as it addresses cultural-specific barriers and integrates care management within existing community services agencies using non-mental health professionals, including community health workers.

  • Ask Suicide-Screening Questions to Everyone in Medical Settings (asQ em): Development of a Suicide Risk Screening Instrument for Adult Medical Inpatients
    Study Type: Observational
    Start Date: May 14, 2014
    Locations: Bethesda, Maryland; Providence, Rhode Island; Fort Worth, Texas
    Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers


    - Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for U.S. adults. Medically ill people are at an increased risk of suicide. Most people who have killed themselves went to a healthcare provider within 3 months of their death. More and more, hospitals are being asked to assess people for signs of suicide risk so that they can get the help they need. If nurses and doctors can find out who is at risk they can make sure these people get help in the hospital.

    The asQ em (Ask Suicide-Screening Questions to Everyone in Medical Settings) is a brief questionnaire. It was created to detect suicidal thoughts and behaviors in hospitalized people. Researchers would like to further develop this tool and figure out which are the best questions to ask patients.


    - To determine the best questions for healthcare providers to ask people with medical illnesses to see if they are having suicidal thoughts or planning to hurt themselves.


    - NIH Clinical Center patients over age 18.


    - Participants will be asked questions about how they have been feeling in the past few weeks. They will be asked questions about depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. They also will be asked some background questions.

    - It will take approximately 15 to 30 minutes to answer the questions.

  • Validation of the Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ) in the Inpatient Medical Setting
    Study Type: Observational
    Start Date: January 29, 2014
    Locations: Washington, District of Columbia; Boston, Massachusetts; Columbus, Ohio
    Eligibility: Ages 10–21, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

    Physicians and nurses working in non-mental health settings require tools to guide them in recognizing patients at risk. While screening children and adolescents is emerging as a priority of the Joint Commission, there are currently no suicide screening instruments designed specifically for assessing suicide risk in a pediatric inpatient medical population. Recently, our study team developed the Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ), a 4-item suicide risk screening instrument with excellent sensitivity, specificity, and negative predictive value for use in pediatric emergency departments (Protocol #08-M-N070). However, use of the ASQ in an inpatient medical setting has not been tested. The aim of this study is to determine the utility of the ASQ among pediatric medical inpatients in children s hospitals. While most inpatients will not be at imminent risk for suicide, we hypothesize that the ASQ will capture a number of patients who screen positive and are not only at risk for suicidal behavior in the future, but are also experiencing significant emotional distress and therefore warrant further psychiatric evaluation and follow-up treatment. This will be a multisite study, comprised of medically ill inpatients at three non-NIH affiliated sites (Children s National Medical Center, Boston Children s Hospital, and Nationwide Children s Hospital), with a total sample size of 600 (200 per site). We will administer several short measures of suicide risk the ASQ, the Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire, a brief depression screen, the Patients Health Questionnaire Adolescent version (PHQ-A) to all eligible inpatients aged 10-21 years. The ultimate goal of this project is to provide non-mental health clinicians with a brief, accurate assessment tool for detecting risk of suicide in pediatric medical inpatients and in turn, connecting those in need with mental health services. After validating the ASQ with pediatric medical inpatients, we will then examine the practical implications of nurses administering the ASQ as standard of care during the admission process on a pediatric medical inpatient unit. Future studies will focus on validating the ASQ in non-English speaking patients, addressing a critical gap in suicide prevention research. In addition, examining the long-term clinical impact of screening general medical patients for suicide risk with the ASQ and linking those in need with mental health services and/or other interventions will be important next steps.

    Please note: This is a multi-site study that is being conducted at three non-NIH sites, all children s hospitals, two of which have already received IRB approval (Boston Children s Hospital and Children s National Medical Center) and one which is in the process of submission (Nationwide Children s Hospital). No NIH patients will be enrolled at the Clinical Center. Consent and patient data collection will take place on inpatient medical units at those three sites; data will be sent to NIMH, and stored and analyzed here.

  • A Sleep-Oriented Intervention for Suicidal Behaviors
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: May 1, 2013
    Location: Stanford, California
    Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

    An open-label trial to investigate the use of a behavioral insomnia treatment for suicidal ideation.

  • Reducing Suicidal Ideation Through Insomnia Treatment
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: September 1, 2012
    Locations: Augusta, Georgia; Durham, North Carolina; Madison, Wisconsin
    Eligibility: Ages 18–65, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

    Epidemiologic reports have linked insomnia to suicidal ideation and suicide death. However, no studies have determined whether treating insomnia decreases the risk of suicidality. We have new data indicating that (1) the link between insomnia and suicidal ideation holds true in clinical trials of depressed insomniacs, (2) dysfunctional cognitions about sleep are related to suicidal ideas, and (3) treatment of insomnia with hypnotics leads to a reduction of suicidal ideation. We now propose to test whether cautious use of hypnotics in suicidal, depressed insomniacs may reduce suicide risk in a multi-site clinical trial.

  • Assessing Suicide Risk in Adolescents With Developmental Delays
    Study Type: Observational
    Start Date: January 6, 2012
    Location: Toronto, Canada
    Eligibility: Ages 12 and Older, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers


    - Currently, there is no standard method to study suicide risk in youth with developmental delays or intellectual disabilities (DD/ID). Youth with DD/ID are often excluded from studies that are used to develop these methods. As a result, most current suicide risk assessments have not been tested for use with people with DD/ID. Researchers want to develop an effective suicide risk screening tool for children and adolescents with DD/ID.


    - To develop a suicide risk screening tool for young adults with DD/ID.


    - Young adults between 12 and 21 years of age who have DD/ID and are in mental health counseling.

    - Participants will be in counseling at Surrey Place Centre, a community health center in Toronto, Canada.


    - Participants will fill out questionnaires during a 1-hour meeting with a therapist. The questions will ask about mood and current feelings, including whether the participant has been thinking about or planning to hurt or kill him or herself now or in the past. Other questions will ask about participants' understanding of death in general.

    - Parents of participants may also fill out a questionnaire. It will ask about how the participant has been feeling. It will also ask whether the parent has noticed any signs that suggest suicidal thoughts or actions, now and in the past.

    - Treatment will not be provided as part of this protocol. However, participants can receive counseling through the regular Surrey Place Centre services.

  • Effectiveness of Empowerment Group Sessions for Treating Suicidal African American Women in Abusive Relationships
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: March 1, 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.