Center for Suicide Prevention and Research

To save children’s lives and reduce suicide in Ohio and beyond through prevention efforts and cutting-edge research.

Center for Suicide Prevention and Research

The Center for Suicide Prevention and Research (CSPR) at Nationwide Children's Hospital was created to address the growing problem of suicide among youth in central Ohio.

If you ever have immediate/urgent concerns about your safety or the safety of anyone else, call 911. 

Contact your mental health provider or a crisis line below if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988

The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress. Trained crisis counselors are standing by to help at all times.

You can also text “START” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or use the Lifeline Crisis Textline at or chat at In Ohio, you can also text “4HOPE.”

Crisis Response Team at Nationwide Children's: (614) 722-1800

Available 24/7. Ages 18 and older should call (614) 276-CARE (2273) or (888) 276-2273. For people living outside Franklin County, please call your county’s psychiatric crisis line number.

Center for Suicide Prevention and Research (CSPR) Strategic Goals

  • Conduct research aimed at: 
    1. Understanding the epidemiology of child and youth suicide and suicidal behavior. 
    2. Examining risk and protective factors that contribute to youth suicide and attempted suicide
    3. Developing and testing evidence-based intervention strategies that reduce suicide and suicide attempts for youth in health care settings 
    4. Implementing effective suicide prevention interventions and strategies in real world settings such as schools, community centers, and faith-based organizations
  • Foster the development and implementation school-based programs (SOS: Signs of Suicide prevention program) to prevent youth suicide and attempted suicide in Ohio and promote methods for evaluating outcomes. 

Why Our Research Matters 

Nationally, suicide has emerged as the second leading cause of death for children ages 10-19 years old. 

  • Nearly 1 in 6 teens has seriously contemplated suicide in the past year.
  • Suicide affects people of all backgrounds. 
  • Early identification of risk factors can aid behavioral health specialists in prevention strategies for youth at risk of suicide.
  • Suicide is complex and tragic yet often preventable if communities are provided with the right tools.

In response to the Nationwide Children Hospital’s behavioral health initiative, the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research (CSPR) was created in 2015 to address the growing problem of suicide among youth. CSPR is a joint partnership with Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion and the Abigail Wexner Research Institute.

The Center for Suicide Prevention and Research is located in the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion (map and directions) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the largest and most comprehensive center dedicated exclusively to child and adolescent behavioral and mental health on a pediatric medical campus in the United States. This partnership between the Abigail Wexner Research Institute and the Big Lots Behavioral Health Services allows for the development and implementation of evidence-based prevention strategies.


The primary focus of the Prevention Team in CSPR is implementing the SOS Signs of Suicide prevention program in area schools with enhanced support in training for school staff, counselors and families.

Additionally, the Prevention Team has engaged in national efforts to improve how journalists report on suicide and to promote a dialogue on youth suicide that reduces stigma, highlights practical prevention strategies and informs the community on what to look out for and how to help youth navigate emotional crises.

Featured Prevention Resources for Families, Schools and Clinicians

Nationwide Children's Hospital Patient Photo

Free Signs of Suicide (SOS) Prevention Program Trainings for Students, School Staff, Counselors, Families, Individuals and Community Organizations

The Center for Suicide Prevention and Research helps schools and community organizations in Ohio implement evidence-based prevention strategies.

Preteen Boy Leaning on Tree

Suicidal Behaviors

Suicide in children and adolescents is a major public health issue. Nationally, suicide is the second leading cause of death for 10- to 19-year-olds.

Photo of student

Talking to Kids About Suicide

As kids head back to school this year, many of them will be struggling. According to national statistics, we lose more than 2,000 children and teens per year to suicide. Experts say parents who check in regularly with their child could have a life-saving conversation. Asking a child directly about suicidal thoughts is usually the best thing a parent can do to help their child open up about their emotions. Even if their child is not struggling with suicide or depression, parents can model for their child that it is good to talk about serious emotional concerns with trusted adults and important to reach out to friends to have these conversations, too.

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Suicide Prevention Resources

If you think your child has thought about ending their life, or if you recently lost a loved one to suicide, these resources may offer support.


Researchers in the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research (CSPR) conduct epidemiological and intervention studies on child and youth suicide and suicidal behavior to inform policy, improve the delivery of services for suicidal youth, and ultimately prevent suicide and suicidal behavior. 

Learn more about the research projects and publications of our investigators and research teams, including our epidemiological studies and publications on the increase in suicide deaths after Netflix's release of 13 Reasons Why, noncompliance surrounding the guidelines for reporting suicide deaths in the media after the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdaine and the disparities in black youth attempting and dying by suicide, and more.

Featured Topics

Research Labs

Bridge Lab

The Bridge Lab focuses on the epidemiology of suicidal behavior in young people and neurocognitive vulnerability to suicidal behavior, as well as improving the quality of care for suicidal youth and adolescents who have attempted suicide.

Fontanella Lab

The Fontanella Lab’s primary goal is to understand the relationship between suicide and health service use.

Ruch Lab

The Ruch Lab is focused on improving behavioral health and suicide related outcomes across youth serving systems (juvenile justice, child welfare, healthcare, education) to better inform suicide prevention strategies.

CSPR Researchers Awarded P50 Center Grant Funding to Support New ASPIRES Center

The Center for Accelerating Suicide Prevention iReal-World Settings (ASPIRES) aims to accelerate the development and implementation of effective interventions to reduce suicide in children and adolescents.

Supported by coveted P50 Center grant funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), ASPIRES will extend work being conducted in CSPR and within Big Lots Behavioral Health Services at Nationwide Children's. The award provides $14 million over five years, and Jeff Bridge, PhD, CSPR director, and Cynthia Fontanella, PhD, a principal investigator in CSPR, will lead the new center and its thirteen investigators.

P50 Center grants from the NIH provide funding to support programs comprised of integrated research teams to study a variety of subjects within a central scientific theme. They typically consist of specialized core functions and multiple integrated research projects. The work of the ASPIRES team will initially include four projects. Its signature focus will be on a population-based quality improvement (QI) intervention, “Stepped Approach to Reducing Risk of Suicide in Primary Care (STARRS-PC),” that implements a clinical pathway for youth at elevated risk for suicide.

Read the full press release

Featured Publications


Llamocca, E. N., Fristad, M. A., Bridge, J. A., Brock, G., Steelesmith, D. L., Axelson, D. A., & Fontanella, C. A. (2022). Correlates of deliberate self-harm among youth with bipolar disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 302, 376–384.


Fontanella, C. A., Steelesmith, D. L., Brock, G., Bridge, J. A., Campo, J. V., & Fristad, M. A. (2021). Association of cannabis use with self-harm and mortality risk among youths with mood disorders. JAMA Pediatrics, 175(4), 377–384. PMID: 33464286 PMCID: PMC7816117

Ruch, D. A., Heck, K. M., Sheftall, A. H., Fontanella, C. A., Stevens, J., Zhu, M., Horowitz, L. M., Campo, J.V., & Bridge, J. A. (2021). Characteristics and precipitating circumstances of suicide among children aged 5 to 11 years in the United States, 2013-2017. JAMA Network Open, 4(7), e2115683. PMID: 34313741 PMCID: PMC8317003


Fontanella, C. A., Warner, L. A., Steelesmith, D., Bridge, J. A., Sweeney, H. A., & Campo, J. V. (2020). Clinical profiles and health services patterns of Medicaid-enrolled youths who died by suicide. JAMA Pediatrics, 174(5), 470–477. PMID: 32202589 PMCID: PMC7091475


Bridge, J. A., Greenhouse, J. B., Ruch, D., Stevens, J., Ackerman, J., Sheftall, A. H., Horowitz, L. M., Kelleher, K. J., & Campo, J. V. (2020). Association between the release of Netflix's 13 Reasons Why and suicide rates in the United States: an interrupted time series analysis. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 59(2), 236–243. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 31042568 PMCID: PMC6817407

View All Publications

Join Our Team

The team at the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research is growing. Click the link below to view current job listings and to learn more about careers at Nationwide Children's Hospital.