One in three men and one in eight women who died by suicide have spent at least one night in jail in their lifetimes.
The new suicide prevention research center, also known as NCHATS, is an innovative program funded by a $15 million grant from the National Institutes of Mental Health. The goal is to build information bridges between health care organizations and justice systems to identify individuals at risk for suicide and connect them to care.
Justice-involved individuals also have high rates of other suicide risk factors, including mental health problems, substance use, financial challenges, loss of housing, relationship struggles, exposure to violence, and access to lethal means such as firearms, vehicles, or drugs. The justice system and police settings have limited mental health intervention capacity, and health systems are typically unaware of their patients’ justice involvement.
The new suicide prevention center will examine how to scale successful pilot projects and evaluate both the clinical and cost-effectiveness of suicide prevention activities.
NCHATS includes more than 100 stakeholders, 30 investigators, and 15 institutions. The center will use contact with the justice system (e.g., police contact, court involvement, arrest) as a novel indicator of suicide risk in the general population. The center will link big data systems that efficiently track publicly available data on justice involvement to health system records to identify individuals at risk for suicide and connect them to community care.
Even with the known risks, suicide prevention is not the top priority of most police and justice contacts. By bringing together jails, police, health systems/plans, judges and corrections, NCHATS will integrate and expand the public health response to suicide prevention.
The award includes funds for 15 institutions, including:
- Addiction Policy Forum
- Brown University
- Butler Hospital
- CareSource Ohio, Inc.
- Cambridge Health Alliance
- Columbia University
- George Mason University
- HealthPartners Institute
- Henry Ford Health
- Michigan State University
- Mount Auburn Hospital
- Pacific Institute for Research
- Wayne State University
- Education Development Center
- University of Pennsylvania