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American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Announces Annual Research Grants Totaling Over $9 Million

December 5, 2023 – 4 min read


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NEW YORK (December 5, 2023) – So much of what we know today to understand and prevent suicide is due to research. For example, 90 percent of people who die by suicide have an underlying — and potentially treatable — mental health condition. Today, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) announces 27 new research grants totaling $9.1 million, making the organization’s total current research investment more than $32 million. The organization is the largest private funder of suicide prevention research in the United States and globally. 

AFSP’s trailblazing investments in research are guided by its Scientific Council, composed of leading suicide prevention experts. This year the organization also was co-host to the sixth International Summit on Suicide Research in Barcelona, Spain with the International Academy of Suicide Research. The Summit convenes the foremost global experts on suicide research.

“As the leading private funder of suicide research, we have the responsibility to fund novel, impactful and rigorous research studies. As part of our support for research, we also provide opportunities for researchers to share their findings and learn from each other to advance progress. We creatively share research findings to equip the public with knowledge about signs of increased suicide risk and what to do if they are worried about someone," said Dr. Jill Harkavy-Friedman, AFSP senior vice president of research. “It is through scientific research that we have learned what we know about suicide and have developed assessment tools and interventions to save lives.”

The 27 grants awarded this year address six key suicide research areas: (1) Neurobiological, (2) Genetics, (3) Psychosocial, (4) Clinical Treatment, (5) Loss Survivor and (6) Community Intervention. AFSP welcomes applications in all areas of suicide research and sets research priorities to stimulate research in typically understudied areas to generate new research where needed. AFSP’s three priority areas are currently diversity, evaluation of technological interventions for suicide prevention and survivors of suicide loss.

Areas examined by our newest grants include:

  • Developing treatments for suicide loss survivors experiencing Prolonged Grief Disorder
  • Identifying culturally relevant risk and protective factors for suicide among youth from sexual minorities 
  • Examining psilocybin-assisted therapy for people with PTSD and suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Developing and testing an online program for parents to learn strategies to best support their child receiving treatment for suicidal ideation or suicidal behavior
  • Identification of environmental and lifestyle factors that contribute to Black youth suicide attempt risk
  • Testing a treatment model that serves Latinx/Hispanic youth who experience suicidal thoughts and behavior, and includes their caregivers
  • Exploring genetic contributions to suicide
  • Examining how to best assess suicide risk without relying on the report of suicidal thoughts
  • Examining the impact of environmental factors such as heat and pollen levels on suicide
  • Exploring the use of digital tools in suicide

Funding research that helps to understand and prevent suicide in underrepresented communities is core to AFSP. The organization is committed to mentoring and supporting promising researchers focusing on these communities. Find the full list of the grants awarded this year.

Scientific research findings inform AFSP’s guidance and education programs for schools, health settings, workplaces and other settings across the country. AFSP was founded by families who lost loved ones to suicide and researchers working to understand suicide. At the time, the scientific field of suicide prevention was new and people were afraid to talk directly about suicide. Now, we have an improved understanding of the factors that contribute to suicide, have developed interventions and know that we must talk about suicide to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.

The research grants are awarded to researchers across the world focused on suicide prevention and are funded mainly through small individual donations from volunteers who attend AFSP Out of the Darkness Walks. Applications are reviewed by the top suicide prevention researchers globally. Many of the funded researchers receive further funding from the National Institute of Mental Health and other large funding agencies.

To learn more about suicide prevention research, AFSP invites you to visit, or to watch our many videos of researchers talking about what research tells us about mental health and suicide prevention visit


The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, including those who have experienced a loss. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through public education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, with a public policy office in Washington, DC, AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states, DC and Puerto Rico, with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.

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