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American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Invests $6.44M in Scientific Research to Prevent Leading Cause of Death

21 Oct 2021 — 3 min read



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From Me to You

Learn more about all of the 2021 grants from AFSP.

NEW YORK (October 21, 2021) – The largest private funder of suicide prevention research, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), today announced 37 new research grants totaling $6.44 million in new research for 2021; and $23.7 million for all current studies. These research projects were awarded to researchers from across the world who focus their work on studies that help us learn more about suicide and how to prevent it. These awards are being announced during “ROctober”, in October, the month where we recognize the research and the researchers who contribute to fighting suicide every year.

“AFSP shapes suicide prevention strategies around the world through our state-of-the-art research portfolio, and by funding, supporting and influencing the most innovative and forward-thinking researchers and methodologically sound studies,” said Dr. Jill Harkavy-Friedman, vice president of research, AFSP.  “It’s scientific research that informs AFSP’s education programs that are presented in schools, workplaces, and other settings across the country. It’s through research that we know how to best support those who have been affected by suicide. AFSP was founded as a research organization dedicated to exploring how to save lives. Today, we continue to build on what we’ve learned, and answer the most important question of all: how to create a world without suicide.”

Each application is reviewed multiple times by the top suicide prevention researchers in the world. The research grants are funded mainly through small individual donations from volunteers who attend AFSP Out of the Darkness Experiences. Many of these researchers will go on to receive further funding from the National Institute of Mental Health and other large funding agencies.

The 37 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. Some areas examined by our newest grants include:

  • Enhancing suicide assessments and interventions for underrepresented and understudied communities
  • The use of technology to identify or help people at risk
  • The effectiveness of ketamine and other interventions and treatments for managing suicidal thoughts and behavior
  • Psychosocial factors related to suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • The maternal and perinatal transition as a risk factor for suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • The examination of brain and other biological functions
  • Firearm safety and suicide prevention

The AFSP research grants program is international, supporting the best research globally. Find the full list of the grants being awarded this year.

To learn more about suicide prevention research, AFSP invites you to visit, or to watch a recent researcher on video talking about what the research tell us about mental health and suicide prevention go to

Later this month, we invite you to learn more and register for the IASR/AFSP International Summit on Suicide Research taking place October 24-27, 2021 as a virtual conference:


The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through 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, AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states 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, and YouTube.

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