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Suicide is the eighth major cause of death worldwide. There are one million suicides a year and several hundred million people suffering from serious depression. Suicide is the second major cause of death for women aged 15-44 and the fourth major cause of death for men in that age group. In the United States, suicide is now the second major cause of death among college students and the third major cause of death among those aged 15-24.

SPI develops, implements, and funds suicide prevention projects in the U.S. and worldwide. Utilizing a network of experts, SPI undertakes projects that are most likely to prevent suicide, selects qualified investigators, and works with them in developing and conducting the projects from beginning to end. SPI's unique approach is implementing a wide range of projects such as:

Healing the Hidden Wounds of War
SPI is the only not-for-profit organization doing research and treatment projects in the VA to prevent suicide among veterans with PTSD who are most at risk.  Our first achievement was the development of an instrument, the Affective States Questionnaire (ASQ) that can predict when veterans are at short-term risk for suicide. 

Youth Suicide Prevention
The suicide rate among adolescents and young adults has tripled over the last fifty years.  SPI scientists are developing projects in the United States aimed at improving the treatment received by adolescents and young adults who are preoccupied with suicide or have made serious suicide attempts.   

Developing a Mental Health Service Network in Rural China
With 21 percent of the world’s population, China has between 30 and 40 percent of the world’s suicides. Three quarters of the suicides are in rural China, which lacks mental health professionals to care for those who are at risk. SPI is developing a mental health network of personnel in the villages and towns to recognize and refer individuals with depression, and/or risk for suicide to a county mental hospital for treatment.

Social-educational Interventions for Suicide Attempters in China
This project strengthens the social support network available to patients in China seen in hospital emergency rooms following medially serious suicide attempts. It aims at reducing repeated suicidal behavior by helping these suicide attempters find alternative ways of dealing with interpersonal conflicts and other stresses.

In Vietnam, a rapidly developing country, there is concern over what appears to be a significant accompanying rise in suicide. There is, however, no system in place for recording any causes of death apart from those occurring in hospitals. SPI is working with a leading suicide researcher in Vietnam who has studied extensively the current monitoring system and has developed a comprehensive plan for changing it.