At the University of Notre Dame Suicide Prevention Initiative—Research, Intervention, & Training (SPIRIT), we seek to reduce the burden of self-harm and suicide on individuals, families, and communities


Suicide rates In the United States have been rising in almost all demographic groups over the past several decades. Our mission is to reduce this trend through:

  1. Research on biological, psychological, family, and cultural contributors to suicide and self-harm
  2. Primary and secondary prevention

Primary prevention involves identifying children and adolescents who are at high risk for self-injury and suicide attempts before they engage in such behaviors, whereas secondary prevention involves treatments targeting those who have histories of self-injury or suicide attempts.

Our guiding philosophy is that effective prevention requires broad understanding of biological vulnerabilities (e.g., genetic influences, neural functions) proximal environmental risk factors (e.g., maltreatment, peer influences), and sociocultural influences (e.g., poverty, political divisions). This approach allows us to target specific mechanisms of self-injury and suicide, which in the long run improves prevention efficacy.

Our work has been funded by grants from:

Please visit our Research page for more details, and feel free to contact us at or 574-631-1101 if you have questions about our work.