Suicide Prevention through Outreach (SPOt)

Suicide Prevention through Outreach (SPOt)
Request for Proposals

Deadline: July 23, 2018

Epi-Aid 2016-018: Undetermined risk factors for suicide among youth, ages 10–24 — Santa Clara
County, CA, 2016

The Stanford University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences in collaboration with the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and the Stanford Child Health Research Institute invites applications for special projects focused on suicide prevention.

In March 2017, in response to a request from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with their partners released a special report on undetermined risk factors for suicide among youth in Santa Clara County  (read the report). The report highlights both positive and negative characteristics related to media reporting on suicide issues in the county.  From 2008 to 2015, media coverage of suicides in Santa Clara County frequently deviated from accepted “safe” suicide reporting guidelines.  Given the embeddedness of media in modern life, the need for empirically-informed best practices for social media companies and users to reduce suicide and improve mental health and resilience are imperative.

In June 2018, the CDC released a report outlining the aggregate increase in U.S. state-level suicide rates by almost 30% since 1999 (  While research has shown that substance use, access to a firearm, and financial stability among other factors contribute to suicide, less is known about protective factors.  Suicide prevention efforts will benefit not only from recognizing and acting on signs of distress, but also on investing in and promoting psychosocial factors that buffer individuals from thoughts and behaviors of serious self-harm.

In this 2018 call for proposals, we will prioritize funding for projects that address one of the following topics:

  • (a)    The role of media and social media in mental health and suicide prevention;
  • (b)   Approaches to fostering resilience and/or strengthening protective factors that lessen suicide risk
  • (c)    Documentation of a rigorous and thorough systematic review of evidence on the impact of suicide and parasuicidal behavior among adolescents and young adults in the Bay Area and recommendations for future scientific and community-based efforts to address these phenomena in our region (creation of an evidence-based “white paper”).

Amount and Period of Funding

Funding is available in three categories.  Applicants can request up to $5,000 for funds for development of a white paper.  Applicants can request up to $10,000 for exploratory, smaller projects or up to $25,000 for larger proposals. No indirect or infrastructure costs are provided.

Funding will start September 1, 2018 and be available for 18 months with no extensions permitted. 


  • Stanford faculty with Medical Center (MCL), University (UTL), Non-Tenure (NTL), Clinician Educators (CE), Clinical Instructors and Instructors are invited to apply. (PI waivers are not required.)
  • We welcome applications from all schools. At least one PI must be a School of Medicine faculty or Instructor.
  • Each faculty member and Instructor can serve as PI on only one application.
  • Graduate students, residents, fellows, and postdoctoral scholars are encouraged to apply with the leadership of a Stanford-based, PI-eligible investigator.
  • CE Affiliates can be co-investigators on proposals submitted by Instructors, Clinical Instructors, or PI-eligible faculty members.
  • Current 2017 SPOt awardees are not eligible for this call.

Selection Process

A review committee will evaluate proposals based on the following criteria:

  • Strengths of Investigator(s)
  • Approach
  • Feasibility
  • Relevance to priorities
  • Potential for impact

Awardees will be notified on or before August 20, 2018.  Note: detailed feedback will not be provided to applicants.


Recipients will be required to write a preliminary report (1 page) at the midpoint and a final 2-page report at termination. Publications resulting from the work should acknowledge SPOt and the Stanford Child Health Research Institute. Once the winning projects are announced, it is the PI’s responsibility to directly consult with Stanford’s Institutional Review Board to ensure that the proposed project is conducted in accordance with all federal, institutional, and ethical guidelines applicable to human subject research.  Recipients will be asked to present at Grand Rounds or another venue, which may include a community forum.

Application Guidelines

By 5PM on July 23, 2018, please submit one PDF file containing the following in the order listed below via the online application at

File name:   Last name_SPOt_Project2018.pdf

General format recommendations

  • 10-point font (preferably Arial) with standard word and single line spacing
  • Pages should be letter size (8.5 X 11 inches; 21.59 x 27.94 cm)
  • Margins should be no less than 0.7 inches (1.5 cm)
  • Pages should be numbered consecutively at the bottom right
  • The page header should contain the name of the PI or Co-PIs and a short title

1.      Title Page (1-page limit)

  • a.      Suicide Prevention through Outreach (SPOt)
  • b.      Project title
  • c.      Name(s), title(s), department(s), school(s), and email(s) of PI or Co-PIs
  • d.      Name(s), title(s), department(s), school(s), and email(s) of co-investigators (if applicable)
  • e.      One sentence summary of the proposal
  • f.       Amount of funding requested

2.      Project proposal (2-page limit):

Two pages including any/all figures, excluding references. Hyperlinks to relevant published papers are encouraged. Preliminary data is not required, but may be included. No appendices are allowed. Include the following:

  • a.      Problem statement
  • b.      Project plan, including timeline
  • c.      Description of potential impact
  • d.     Up to 5 references

3.      Budget (1/2-page limit):

The budget should reflect the period of time funds are requested and can include salary (including PI and research personnel with corresponding fringe benefits including TGP), equipment, project supplies, food, and support for community collaborations.  This budget may not include faculty honoraria or funds allocated to an unrestricted account. Please note that the School of Medicine has a mandatory 3% telecommunications charge on all salary. Please provide a brief justification for each major spending category.

4.      Investigator biographies:

Short, one paragraph biographies (<300 words) for PI/Co-PIs, co-investigators, and/or key personnel should be provided. The paragraph should include titles, academic rank, and key achievements. These can be hyperlinked to longer form University profiles.

Proposals that do not conform to the above guidelines will be returned without review.

* CE faculty PI waivers are not required. You do not have submit your proposals to your RPM in RMG or your CGO in OSR for their approval.

Please direct all inquiries to:

Aimee-Noelle Swanson PhD
Director of Research Development, Integrity, and Strategy
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Stanford School of Medicine
(650) 736-4559

Recipients of 2017 Suicide Prevention through Outreach (SPOt) Grant Opportunity

In October of 2017, the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences in collaboration with Stanford Children’s Health and the Stanford Medicine Child Health Research Institute at Stanford have awarded four faculty seed grants totaling $95,000 for special projects focused on suicide prevention among youth in our community.

Building Bridges to Adolescent Wellness By Promoting Healthy Media Portrayals

Members of the Stanford Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing will plan and host a conference of thought-leaders focused on how suicide and adolescent mental health is depicted across a broad range of media, from narrative-fiction and journalism to self-representation and social media. This one-day regional conference on media and suicide aims to educate and empower journalists, educators, parents, youth and the broader community to engage in responsible reporting and media portrayal of suicide in order to promote positive mental health and minimize contagion. This project is led by Shashank V. Joshi, M.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist who serves as faculty in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Joshi is collaborating with faculty and staff leaders at Stanford Medicine and with community partners, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Project Safety Net, the HEARD Alliance, the County of Santa Clara, and the Palo Alto Weekly.

Smartphone Data Identification of Suicidality in Young Men with Bipolar Disorder

By using information gathered from participant’s smartphones, researchers will focus on sleep-habits and social interaction patterns among young adult males with a history of suicidality and depression. The project seeks to develop a method for using passive data collection obtained via patients’ smartphones, alongside minimal active data collection, to identify the occurrence of proximal risk factors for suicidality among young men with bipolar disorder. This project is co-led by Anda Gershon, PhD, and Shefali Miller, MD, of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, along with Katarzyna Wac, PhD, who is a visiting professor at Stanford Medicine and serves as an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

Understanding Silicon Valley Transitional-Aged Male Youth (USV-TAMY)

Researchers will conduct focus groups and administer surveys of young men, aged 16-26, with a goal of better understanding their stresses, challenges, and behavioral health concerns. This project is led by Aparna Atluru, MD and Shelly Tran, MD, trainees in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship program of Stanford Medicine, with their mentor, Anita Kishore, MD, who is a Clinical Associate Professor, in the Department. This project represents a collaboration of Stanford Medicine with Tom Tarshis, MD, MPH, of the Bay Area Children’s Foundation and a local student, Leo Rossi, who attends Neuva School in Hillsborough.

Sleep Disturbances as a Proposed Biomarker and Emergency Department Target

Partnering with the Department of Emergency Medicine, researchers from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences will attempt to identify low-stigma early indicators linked to increased suicidality in a high-risk population. The study will include a comprehensive screening to enhance access to care in the prevention of youth suicide, followed by a machine learning investigation of evidence-based warning signs of suicidal behaviors among transition aged males. In doing so the researchers hope to increase access to care among those who need it most. This project is led by Rebecca A. Bernert, PhD, of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the investigative team includes Alan F. Schatzberg, MD, and Victoria Cosgrove, PhD, also from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Nancy E. Wang, MD, of the Department of Emergency Medicine.