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Mental Health

Suicide Prevention Workgroup

 

Historical Background

In 1967, the Johns Hopkins Medical School received the National Institute of Mental Health’s first major grant specifically to establish a formal two-year Fellowship Program in Suicidology.  The pioneering program was created in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (at the time the School of Hygiene and Public Health) and other Hopkins Graduate Schools  and designed to bring together and prepare postgraduates from diverse disciplines for leadership in treating, teaching, researching and developing policy toward preventing suicide.  At that time there were approximately 21,000 suicides per year in the United States.  By 2015 the number of suicides in the United States had more than doubled; and the number of suicides world-wide hovers around 1,000,000 annually.

Both the World Health Association and the U.S. Surgeon General have made clear that suicide is preventable.

Over the past 50 years, researchers and clinicians at Johns Hopkins have continued to develop community, hospital-based, and applied programs of prevention targeting children and adults. These include screening and educational initiatives, studies of the biological underpinnings of suicide, epidemiological surveys of at-risk groups, and most importantly the training of young researchers planning to launch into this important field.

Suicide, as a preventable outcome, is associated with many other public health challenges currently under study at Johns Hopkins, such as gun violence (60% of gun deaths are suicides), mental illness including substance abuse (substance dependence is one of the greatest risk factors for suicide), and trauma. Similarly, the paths to suicide prevention come from many directions and are driven by a diverse group of specialists. To date, however, these specialists have worked in individual silos of effort.

We believe it is time to reconstitute an interdisciplinary and collaborative community of scholars and practitioners from the Johns Hopkins community to lead the effort to prevent as many deaths by suicide as possible and to help build brighter futures for those who lead lives of despair.

To that end we are formalizing a relaunch of the suicide workgroup at Johns Hopkins in order to offer collaboration, mentorship, and opportunities to contribute to this lifesaving work.

Mission

To establish and forward a collaborative multidisciplinary effort to advance our understanding of suicide and suicide prevention toward the saving of lives, as well as to be a national resource and provide leadership in public health approaches to suicide prevention.

Vision

If you are interested in collaborating, learning, or contributing, we would like to talk. Here we provide information about our programs and resources for the community and survivors of suicide loss.