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Reducing Suicide: A National Imperative
on suicide and suicide prevention across the life cycle. The network of Population Laboratories should be administered by NIMH and funded through partnerships among federal agencies and private sources, including foundations. Very large study samples of at least 100,000 are necessary because of the relatively low frequency of suicide in the general public. A number of Population Laboratories (e.g., 5–10) are necessary to capture the data for numerous and complex interacting variables including the profound effects of demographics, region, culture, socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity. Extending the efforts into the international arena where cultural differences are large may provide new information and can be fostered and guided by such global organizations as the World Health Organization and the World Bank and by the Fogarty International Center at NIH.
The network should be equipped to perform safe, high-quality, large-sample, multi-site studies on suicide and suicide prevention.
Each Laboratory would have a population base of approximately 100,000. At a base-rate of 10–12 suicides per 100,000 people, this population base of the network would significantly improve the available data for estimates of suicide incidence, capacity for longitudinal studies, development of brain repositories, access to representative samples for prevention and intervention studies, and studies of genetic risk for suicide. Several such laboratories would provide adequate data to assess the numerous and complex interacting variables including the profound effects of demographics, regions, culture, socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity. Coordination and collaboration among centers should be encouraged to further enhance the breadth of the database.
The laboratories would cover an ethnically and socially diverse and representative population and would recruit higher risk individuals and subgroups in communities within the population laboratories for longitudinal and more detailed studies.
Treatment and prevention studies would be carried out in high-risk patients recruited from within the population laboratories.
With these defined populations, the centers would conduct prospective studies—integrating biological, psychosocial, ethnographic, and ethical dimensions—that would be of great importance in advancing science and meeting public health needs. These studies would include such initiatives as identified in the committee report:
Intervention and Prevention Research
Testing of promising programs at multiple sites with long term follow-up. It is critical to determine whether an intervention can be gen-