An alarming spike in suicides among U.S. military service members and veterans over the past 15 years is prompting the Department of Defense to turn to Florida State University's renowned suicide research program to find solutions.
A new federal grant will support innovative research led by Jessica Ribeiro and Joseph Franklin, both assistant professors in FSU's Department of Psychology, with $1.5 million over the next three years. The researchers are building a machine-learning tool designed to help primary care doctors better detect suicide risk and respond more effectively.
"It's desperately needed," said Ribeiro, one of FSU's newest faculty members leading suicide prevention research. "As a suicide researcher, you feel urgency to answer big questions because the field is stagnant, and people are dying at increasing rates. Now, this is a promising direction."
Ribeiro's research project is a novel path bolstered by early success. The team has already developed powerful machine learning algorithms for electronic health records that can predict with 80-90 percent accuracy whether someone will attempt suicide as much as two years into the future.