Survivor Research

Study on Spiritual and Religious Experiences Seek Participants

AFSP would like to invite people who have been bereaved by suicide to participate in a study on spiritual and religious experiences subsequent to their loss. If you have lost a loved one to suicide (e.g., family member or close friend), we would appreciate your participation in the study.

The purpose of this study is to learn about any connections you may have had with your loved one after his/her death, as well as any changes you may have had in your spiritual or religious beliefs as a result of your loss. The study was developed through a partnership between researchers, clinicians and suicide prevention specialists. All responses will be anonymous and confidential.

The study should take no more than 10 to 15 minutes to complete and can be accessed here:

There is no compensation available for the completion of the study, but we appreciate survivors taking the time to tell us about their experiences.

In addition, if you are connected to others who have been bereaved by suicide, we ask for your support in passing along this request to them.

For more information about this study, please contact Dr. Kelly Cukrowicz at (806) 742-3711 Ext. 267 or This study was approved by the Texas Tech University Institutional Review Board. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Complicated Grief Study Seeks Participants in Boston, New York City, Pittsburgh, San Diego

AFSP is proud to announce a groundbreaking Survivor Research Initiative to study bereavement after suicide. The goal is to proactively identify key areas in need of research focus, and to fund specially-commissioned research projects in those areas. To that end, AFSP convened a select group of researchers to help identify strategic survivor research priorities. Read about the workshop.

The first project to be funded by the AFSP Survivor Research Initiative seeks to better understand Complicated Grief among survivors of suicide loss and how it can be effectively resolved, complementing a major treatment study currently being funded by the National Institutes of Health. This multi-site research project is now underway and seeks participants. 

Survivors who live in the four participating cities and are interested in taking part in the study should contact the individuals listed below:

Boston, MA 
(Massachusetts General Hospital)
Nicole LeBlanc
(617) 726-4585

New York, NY 
(Columbia University)
Natalia Skritskaya, PhD, 
Complicated Grief Program Coordinator
(212) 851-2107

Pittsburgh, PA 
(University of Pittsburgh)
Mary McShea, MSW  
(412) 246-6006

San Diego, CA 
(VASDHS/University of CA, San Diego)
Ilanit T. Young, PhD
(858) 552-7598

Watch therapist Danielle Kukene Glorioso, M.S.W.—herself a survivor, having lost her brother, Brian, to suicide—and Sidney Zisook, M.D., a principal investigator in the Complicated Grief Study, discuss Complicated Grief Therapy for survivors of suicide loss:


The following was provided by the researchers in New York and describes the study and the criteria for participation more fully:

Grieving the death of a loved one is undoubtedly one of the hardest things we may ever do as humans. Strong feelings of sadness and loneliness commonly occur following the death of a loved one. Other painful feelings, like fear, anxiety, guilt, resentment, anger, and shame are also common. Experiencing any or all of these emotions during acute grief can be very normal. 

However, some people find that their grief does not change with time. These people are bothered by something that happened around the death or about how things have been after the death. These people are “stuck” in the grieving process and suffering from the condition called Complicated Grief (CG). No matter how long it has been, they still feel that all they want is to be with their loved one again. They might try to do things to feel closer to the person who died like spend a lot of time looking at pictures or visiting the grave again and again; sometimes, they get so emotional when they are reminded of the person who died that they want to avoid these reminders. People with CG often feel that life is empty and meaningless or that joy is no longer possible for them. They might frequently feel angry or bitter about what happened or feel confused about what to do with their life. They feel distant from family and friends, who seem like they don’t understand and are disappointed in their inability to adjust to the loss.  

Individuals interested in getting help may be eligible to participate in a treatment study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Participants will beseen in a clinic at Columbia University Medical Center. The study is for adults over the age of 18 and includes medication and talk therapy treatments. Study participation takes about a year, including 4 months of treatment visits and approximately 7 monthly telephone follow-up calls. There is also a follow-up visit 6 months after completing treatment. There is no cost for either treatment, and all information related to the study will be kept strictly confidential.

If you have been bereaved for 6 months or more, you may be eligible to participate.