Our innovative research program helps reveal how we can save lives and informs our bold Project 2025 goal of reducing the annual suicide rate in the U.S. 20% by 2025. At the same time, our volunteers advocate for mental health and suicide prevention laws that affect communities everywhere.
Our state-of-the-art research portfolio helps to address suicide, which is currently the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. By working with other national research organizations and sharing the findings of our researchers through conferences and Research Connection Programs, we spread knowledge, and help to shape the agenda for future suicide prevention research.
AFSP was founded as a research organization dedicated to exploring how to save lives. Over 30 years later, AFSP remains the largest private funder of suicide prevention research, shaping suicide prevention strategies around the world in collaboration with our Scientific Council, Scientific Advisors, and research grantees.
This year, AFSP funded 26 new research grants, totaling over $6.27 million. Of the new grants funded this year, three Focus Grants explore a range of exciting areas of research, totaling almost $4 million.
Focus Grants are targeted, novel and potentially high-impact studies focusing on designated areas of study. This year, AFSP has funded two new Blue Sky Focus Grants, and one Short-Term Risk Focus Grant.
Blue Sky Focus Grants are those which are open to all fields, supporting innovative and potentially impactful novel areas of suicide prevention research that are beyond the scope of our Innovation Grants.
Short-Term Risk Focus Grants are concentrated on assessment and/or interventions to identify and reduce short-term risk for suicide in clinical settings.
Alan Schatzberg, M.D. of Stanford University was awarded a Blue Sky Focus Grant totaling over $1.4 million for a study on ketamine, a pain relief medicine that has been shown to rapidly reduce severe suicidal ideation. The study examines how we might sustain this anti-suicidal effect over time.
Virginia Willour, Ph.D. of the University of Iowa was awarded a Blue Sky Focus Grant totaling almost $1.5 million towards her research examining how genetics, and brain structure and function, are related to suicide through the study of individuals with bipolar disorder and suicidal behavior.
David Tolin, Ph.D. of the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital was awarded a Short-Term Risk Focus Grant of over $1 million, studying the effects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on patients managing suicidal ideation and behavior post-discharge from the hospital, when they are at particularly high-risk.See all of our Innovation Grants
By organizing events like State Capitol Days and the Annual Advocacy Forum in Washington, D.C., we empower a network of volunteers across the country to urge public officials at all levels of government to prioritize suicide prevention and mental health.
It takes a community of people across the nation to educate federal, state and local leaders about suicide prevention and mental health. This year, thousands of our volunteers urged public officials at all levels of government to prioritize this important cause, sending over 30,000 emails to members of Congress and over 3,000 emails to state legislators.
Sign up to receive Action Alerts and to volunteer as an AFSP Field Advocate at afsp.org/advocate
Our chapters hosted 45 State Capitol Day events in Spring 2019, bringing our advocates together to meet with public officials and discuss how to help reduce suicide in their states and communities. This year, they urged legislators to support bills that would impact suicide prevention in K–12 schools, training for health professionals, mental health parity enforcement, prohibitions on conversion therapy, and suicide prevention planning and infrastructure at the state level, among other state priority issues.Upcoming Capitol Days
At our 10th Annual Advocacy Forum, 225 Field Advocates, chapter leaders and staff assembled in Washington, D.C. to advocate for our federal policy priorities. Keynote speakers included U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilke, former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy, U.S. Representative Paul Tonko, and former U.S. Representative Charles Boustany.About Advocacy Forum
The Sandy Martin Grassroots Award recognizes our volunteer Field Advocates who have devoted their time and energy working to build relationships with public officials, network with state and local agencies and organizations, recruit others to work for the cause, and further the public policy priorities we know will save lives
Our research serves as the catalyst for the Project 2025 initiative, which has the bold goal of reducing the annual suicide rate in the U.S. 20% by 2025.
By partnering with organizations in communities across the U.S. to deliver evidence-informed programs, policies and interventions, we know we can and will save lives. This year we entered a new phase of the initiative, including the debut of a new interactive website and the announcement of several exciting partnerships, each aligned with the four critical areas that have been identified to save the most lives in the shortest amount of time: firearms, healthcare systems, emergency departments and correctional institutions.
51% of all suicides in the U.S. are by firearm, which is why we’ve partnered with the National Shooting Sports Foundation to help distribute suicide prevention materials to its national network of retailers and ranges. Our chapters have presented our firearms-specific suicide prevention education program in their communities over 100 times since its development. We’re also partnering with Everytown for Gun Safety and The Well-Armed Woman to promote suicide prevention in relation to firearms.
39% of people who die by suicide visit an ER in the year prior. Together with the American College of Emergency Physicians, we’ve developed ICAR2E, an online suicide prevention tool designed to assist with assessment and treatment of at-risk patients in emergency care settings.
Up to 45% of people who die by suicide visit their primary care physician in the month prior. We’ve collaborated with SafeSide Prevention to provide video- based suicide prevention training for doctors across the country.
Suicide is the leading cause of death in jails, and has increased 30% in prisons the past several years. Our partnership with the National Commission on Correctional Health Care allows us to offer the tools and guidance needed in correctional facilities.