With $15 million federal grant, scientists from Brown help lead effort to reduce the suicide rate.
With a $15 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, researchers from Brown University, Michigan State University, and Henry Ford Health in Detroit are collaborating to reduce the national suicide rate by establishing a multi-institution suicide prevention research center.
Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States, with about one death reported every 11 minutes, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The researchers say the new center, called the National Center for Health and Justice Integration for Suicide Prevention, is an innovative program that will use contact with justice system entities—such as police, prison, and courts—as a novel marker for suicide risk.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and social justice movements of the past several years have brought significant attention to the multitude of inequities faced within the US, and particularly how these have contributed to disparities in those who come into contact with the criminal justice system,” says Lauren Weinstock, PhD, professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown and one of three principal investigators on the grant.
“Amidst calls for decarceration and diversion to mental health and substance use treatment, we need systems in place to effectively identify those who are at greatest risk and connect them to services,” Weinstock says. “With the establishment of this new center, we aim to address the all-too-frequent problem in which vulnerable individuals find themselves falling through the cracks between the health and justice systems, and to connect people to needed care.”