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Practice-Based Suicide Prevention Research Centers

What are the Practice-Based Suicide Prevention Research Centers?

In 2020, NIMH launched the Practice-Based Suicide Prevention Research Centers, modeled after the Advanced Laboratories for Accelerating the Reach and Impact of Treatments for Youth and Adults with Mental Illness (ALACRITY) Research Center program.

The Practice-Based Suicide Prevention Research Centers are integrated, transdisciplinary research programs aimed at developing, refining, and testing effective and scalable approaches for reducing suicide rates in the United States. The centers support research that could not be achieved using standard research project grant mechanisms.

Like the ALACRITY Centers, the Suicide Prevention Centers incorporate features intended to speed the translation of research into practice, including:

  • Practice-based infrastructure that uses clinical practice settings as a place to develop new research ideas and nimbly test and refine interventions and service delivery strategies
  • Transdisciplinary research teams that incorporate new insights and emerging technologies from experts in areas such as behavioral economics; health information and communications technology; and health systems engineering
  • deployment-focused approach that considers the perspectives of groups such as patients, families, providers, and key administrators when developing interventions and service strategies that can be rapidly integrated into practice

Why are the Practice-Based Suicide Prevention Research Centers a priority for NIMH?

Consistent with National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (NAASP)  goals, NIMH is committed to reducing the suicide rate by 20% by 2025. We have prioritized suicide prevention research that emphasizes the following:

  • Risk detection
  • Screening
  • Interventions in settings that serve individuals at risk for suicide

Advancing research with near-term impact to help realize this suicide prevention goal requires combining current knowledge about effective suicide prevention strategies with emerging health information and communication technologies, health care informatics, data science tools, and new organizational structures for delivering health care.

Enhancing suicide prevention research also depends on having diverse scientific perspectives. To help ensure a well-trained, diverse suicide prevention research workforce, the centers emphasize transdisciplinary collaborations, education, and training for trainees and early career investigators.

What is NIMH’s role?

NIMH provides grants that support seven centers that are focused on rapidly developing, refining, and testing effective and scalable approaches for intervening at critical points of care, including:

  • Identifying individuals at high risk for suicide
  • Facilitating risk stratification, referral, and engagement
  • Intervening, including prevention and treatment
  • Promoting continuity of care across key transitions (for example, following identification in the emergency department or discharge from inpatient care)

Collectively, these centers address suicide prevention across a range of groups at risk for suicide, including:

  • Individuals with mental illness
  • Other groups who experience differential risk or disparities in mental health services (for example, Black youth, sexual and gender minorities, publicly insured youth and adults, and justice system-involved individuals)

Across these centers, practice-based research takes place in a variety of settings where suicide risk might be identified and addressed, such as:

  • Health care systems
  • Mental health and primary care practice and networks
  • Other systems and settings that serve individuals at risk for suicide (for example, community settings and criminal justice systems)

NIMH currently supports the following centers:

*The ETUDES Center was initially supported as an ALACRITY Center but was renewed under the Practice-Based Suicide Prevention Centers program.

These transdisciplinary centers, which are integrated programs of high-impact, practice-based research with near-term potential, represent a crucial component of NIMH’s overall suicide prevention research strategy to help achieve the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention goals.

Learn more about the Practice-Based Suicide Prevention Research Centers

Additional Resources

Last Reviewed: November 2022