top of page

Why are you studying this? What's the point?

In suicide prevention, mental health has been a major point of research. But, among people who die by suicide, only 45% had a mental health diagnosis in the 12 months prior to their death. So, there has been a lot left unexplored in terms of social factors--specifically life distruptions, that might increase a person's distress and increase the risk for suicide. Life events such as job loss, financial strain, relationship failures, legal problems and housing instability may be causal rather than coincidental to suicide--so that is the direction our research is going. 


Why does your study matter?

We're opening new doors for suicide prevention. So much of suicide prevention focuses on an individual's mental health rather than searching for risk factors in the broader social context of the person who died. We want to discover new ways to reach individuals in distress, because not everyone in distress reaches mental health treatment.


What impact are you hoping to have? What's the ultimate outcome?

We hope to learn ways to prevent suicide by understanding the kinds of services someone might have contacted or interacted with prior to their death. This information can help understand how to build better connections for suicide prevention. We want to explore how we can increase suicide prevention in pareas outside of mental health services. 


What happens when the study is over?

The study will be five years long. We'll use the information we gather to implement suicide prevention training, services, and general information to those who work in areas that may interface with individuals experiencing life disruptions or stressful situations. 


How do I know if I'm eligible to participate? What should I know before I participate?

Check out our "Participate Now" page for eligibility requirements for each study. And please know--participation is voluntary. You don't have to answer any question you don't want to, and you can withdraw from the study at any time. All study data are confidential as far as permitted by law.


Do I need to come in person?

No. Our studies are entirely online. Depending on the study, your participation will include either filling out an online survey, or participating in an interview via telephone or Zoom.


How do I know this is legitimate?

You can verify the studies through the USC Institutional Review Board by emailing with reference to Study ID: UP-21-00420 (Life Events Antecedent to Death by Suicide) or Study ID: UP-21-00382 (Charting Upstream Suicide Prevention) or Study ID: UP-21-00258 (Suicide Prevention in Industries of Disruption).


Who is funding the study? Who authorized this? What's an IRB?

This research is funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH). It has been reviewed and approved by the USC Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB is a research review board that reviews and monitors research studies to protect the rights and welfare of research participants. 

Still have questions?

Please reach out to us at and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

bottom of page