NIMH Funds 3 ‘Zero Suicide’ Grants

Direct Communication

“Zero Suicide” is a commitment, a goal, and a campaign led by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and its partners – including NIMH. Recently, NIMH funded three new grants that support the Zero Suicide commitment to preventing suicide attempts and deaths among individuals receiving treatment within health care systems.

The Zero Suicide campaign seeks to improve health care systems’ ability to identify who is at risk, and to identify and implement effective treatments for at-risk individuals. The campaign is also targeting ways to improve health care systems through provider training and systemic changes.

To support Zero Suicide efforts, NIMH issued a request for applications (RFA) in November 2015. This RFA was designed to help NIMH fund research

On practices that lead to safer health care outcomes for at-risk individuals. On suicide prevention strategies that would work across a variety of settings. These settings include clinics, emergency departments, hospitals, and primary care programs. On the most effective approaches for health care systems. These include: examining a variety of ways to detect suicide risk, the best ways to document risk and follow-up care, effective ways to deliver services, and effective policies and practices.

Today, NIMH is pleased to announce that it is funding three studies submitted during the first round of applications. These studies include:

1. Improving Behavioral Health Care

The first study will be the largest NIH has ever supported on improving the quality of behavioral health care to reduce suicide risk. To look at quality, Dr. Barbara Stanley of Columbia University and her colleagues, will partner with the New York State Office of Mental Health. The researchers will compare quality improvements in suicide prevention practice across 145 outpatient state licensed clinics, which represent 85 New York state agencies, and include 1,490 clinical providers that reach over 80,000 adult clients.

New York has already begun improving suicide prevention efforts in behavioral health care, and this study capitalizes on the state’s roll out plan. The study team will randomly assign some clinics to additional training, tracking, and other infrastructure support, to learn of the best ways to improve suicide screening and safety planning.

Dr. Stanley has been developing and studying safety planning with NIMH grantee Greg Brown within the Veterans Health Care (VA) system. The New York state effort will build on previous VA implementation and training programs. The knowledge gained about the potential benefits of focused implementation efforts will be valuable information for other behavioral health systems planning improvements to reduce suicide risk in their clients.