Participate in Research

Volunteer to Participate in Research

One way you can contribute to reducing suicide is by participating as a volunteer in a suicide research study. Scientists use these studies to learn more about suicide, and eventually to improve the ways that professionals and the public work to prevent it.

We post promising research projects that are looking for volunteers on this page.

If you are a researcher interested in submitting your study for inclusion here, please send an email to

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 


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 lonelinesscommonly 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 orabout how things have been after the death. These people are “stuck” in the grieving process and suffering from the condition called ComplicatedGrief (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 tothe 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 arereminded 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 nolonger possible for them. They might frequently feel angry or bitter about what happened or feel confused about what to do with their life. They feeldistant 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 afollow-up visit 6 months after completing treatment. There is no cost for either treatment, and all information related to the study will be kept strictlyconfidential.

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

Study on Bereavement and Grief

Are you having trouble accepting the death of a parent, child, sibling or romantic partner?

Has it been at least one year since the death and you continue to experience intense emotional pain in response to the loss, continue to avoid reminders of the loss, or feel that life is meaningless/empty since the loss?

If you answered yes, you may be eligible to participate in a research study at Harvard University. We respectfully seek individuals who meet these criteria for a study on the grieving process. The study involves a brief interview, a few experimental tasks (e.g. viewing some emotional film clips, giving a brief speech), and a few questionnaires. The study requires a single 2.5 hour visit to our offices at Harvard University. All collected information will remain confidential.

In order to participate:

  • You must have experienced the death of a parent, child, sibling, or romantic partner.
  • The death must have occurred at least 1 year ago.
  • You must be age 18 or older.
  • You must be able to travel to Harvard University for a 2.5 hour study visit.

Eligible individuals will be paid $50.00 for their participation. If you are interested, please contact us at 617-871-9224 or

The Effects of Religious Attendance and Afterlife Belief on Postloss Distress, Posttraumatic Growth, and Meaning

The purpose of this study is to investigate the grief experiences of individuals and how these experiences relate to beliefs about an afterlife and religious attendance.  If you choose to participate, you will be asked to complete a series of short questionnaires that contain demographic questions, information about religious attendance, social experiences, information about afterlife beliefs, current experiences of meaning, and your grief experiences. 

We’re interested in the experiences of individuals who have experienced a significant loss between six months ago and ten years ago.  The study takes place entirely online and typically takes about 20 minutes to complete. Responses are anonymous; participants are assigned a random combination of letters and numbers that are associated with their responses when the data is stored. Access to the data is only available to the investigator and her advisor.