The suicide rate in the U.S. has been steadily increasing over the past 2 decades. In 2018 alone, more than 48,000 Americans died by suicide. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is committed to bending the curve of suicide in the U.S., and together with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, NIMH pledged to reduce the suicide rate by 20% by 2025.
This commitment has shaped NIMH’s suicide prevention research agenda, leading the Institute to focus on areas of research that could swiftly make an impact on the rising suicide rate, such as improving and implementing risk detection and screening methods and interventions for individuals at risk for suicide. In a new paper, published in JAMA Psychiatry, NIMH looks forward, outlining the next stages in the Institute’s suicide prevention research priorities.
Studies by researchers at NIMH-supported institutions and NIMH intramural researchers have helped identify practices that are effective at reducing suicide. Practices such as the implementation of universal suicide risk screening in emergency care settings and the integration of risk prediction analysis into electronic health records have all been shown to be effective in identifying those who may be thinking of harming themselves. Similarly, certain types of psychotherapies, the creation of safety plans, and continuing contact.