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Pathways to Prevention (P2P) Program

Advancing Research To Prevent Youth Suicide


In 2014, suicide was the second leading cause of death for youth (10- to 24-year-olds), resulting in 5,504 deaths in the United States. One of the challenges in suicide prevention research is that the primary outcome of interest is multidetermined, and many studies examining risk in important subgroups often lack sufficient power to accurately determine the effectiveness of the intervention. Because suicidal behavior is often multidetermined, it may be that interventions addressing suicide risk factors have benefits for suicide reduction, but these benefits are not obvious in research findings, nor can the larger community know of these benefits.


Closing the research gaps related to youth suicide could lead to improved prevention strategies. The National Institutes of Health engaged in a rigorous assessment of the available scientific evidence to better understand the importance of identifying efforts that could be effective in preventing suicidal thoughts and behaviors as early as possible.

Workshop Goals

The workshop sought to clarify the following questions:

  • How can national, state, and community data from suicide prevention efforts add possible value for stakeholders? What methods are available to link the data systems?
  • Which statistical methods are reliable and valid for understanding possible mediators and moderators in suicide prevention programs to improve targeting interventions to populations?
  • Which statistical methods are reliable and valid for analyzing linked national, state, and community data systems and suicide prevention data to avoid misleading conclusions?
  • Given the current state of research, what types of methodological/analytic advances would promote further evaluation of youth suicide prevention efforts (e.g., new approaches to data linkage; increased use of common data elements; approaches to intervention harmonization) and facilitate intervention selection and implementation decisions by local community and state-level policymakers?
  • What is the way forward that will help the suicide prevention research community realize the potential benefits of early prevention? What are the immediate and longer-term research investments needed to accomplish this?

Sponsoring Institutes, Centers, and Offices

The workshop was co-sponsored by: