Suicide Prevention


CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control funds nine Injury Control Research Centers (ICRCs). These centers study ways to prevent injuries and violence and work with community partners to put research findings into action.

Suicide is a serious public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities. While its causes are complex and determined by multiple factors, the goal of suicide prevention is simple: reduce factors that increase risk and increase factors that promote resilience. Four of the currently funded ICRCs are working to prevent suicide through research, training, or outreach activities:

  • University of Iowa
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Rochester Medical Center
  • West Virginia University
Research: Studying Ways to Prevent Suicide

Examples of CDC-funded ICRC research projects are listed here:

  • Feasibility of implementing a Computerized Adaptive Diagnostic Screening Tool for Major Depressive Disorder (CAD-MDD) to Identify Patients at Risk of Suicide in WV Emergency Departments (West Virginia University)
  • Systems Dynamics Modeling to Examine Comprehensive Community-Based Suicide Prevention (University of Rochester Medical Center)
  • Testing and Dissemination of an Online Suicide Prevention Training for Intimate Partner Violence Hotline Workers (University of Rochester Medical Center)
Research in Action

The West Virginia University Injury Control Research Center (WVU ICRC) studied a new computerized diagnostic tool to screen for major depressive disorder in the university’s hospital emergency department. The tool could identify at-risk emergency department patients without requiring a psychiatric assessment, which can take significant time. The research showed the screening tool accurately identified at-risk patients and took less time than similar tools. The hospital is now using the tool consistently to identify and connect patients with treatment and services for depression.

Outreach: Putting Research into Action to Prevent Suicide

The Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention (ICRC-S) at the University of Rochester Medical Center, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and local and national stakeholders formed the Colorado National Collaborative to develop a system-based suicide prevention approach. This approach includes working with local stakeholders to implement evidence-based prevention strategies for at-risk youth, veterans, older adults, and middle-aged men. The collaborative plans to evaluate this comprehensive approach to serve as a national model for other states.

Training: Building the Field to Prevent Suicide

The University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center (UNC IPRC) partnered with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to train suicide prevention advocates and public health practitioners. The Injury-Free NC Academy provides participants with injury knowledge and skills to help them implement proven suicide interventions in their communities. This annual training educates participants in areas such as coalition building, community programming, logic model building, and funding. Training participants have reported increased knowledge in suicide prevention and in program planning and development.