Members of Butler Hospital's Psychosocial Research Program Receive National Awards for Suicide Prevention

Release Date: 09/17/2019

The largest private funder of suicide prevention research, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), recently announced 26 new grants totalling over $6.2 million. These grants were awarded to researchers from across the world who focus their work on studies that help us learn more about suicide and how to prevent it.

Among those being recognized for their research into suicide prevention are two members of Butler Hospital’s Psychosocial Research Program, Brandon Gaudiano, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and Heather Schatten, PhD, research psychologist and assistant professor at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, both of whom have received awards.

“So much wonderful work is being done at Butler Hospital to learn more about and prevent suicide. In Rhode Island, suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals 15 to 34 years old, and the third leading cause of death for individuals 35 to 44 years old. Even one suicide is too high a number. I commend Drs. Gaudiano and Schatten for their hard work and commitment to suicide prevention. Through their research, we are learning so much more about how to prevent suicide. The research conducted by both Drs. Gaudiano and Schatten will provide us with a deeper understanding of how the medical community, as well as family and friends can aid in prevention efforts,” said Mary Marran, MS, OT, MBA, president and COO of Butler Hospital.  

Dr. Gaudiano’s project, “Post-Hospital Suicide Prevention Intervention for Patients with Schizophrenia-Spectrum Disorders” is a pilot randomized controlled trial to test the efficacy of the Coping Long-term with Active Suicide Program (CLASP), compared to treatment as usual for inpatients with schizophrenia leaving the hospital. Patients assigned to CLASP receive individual, family, and telephone sessions for six months post-discharge in addition to their usual care. Dr. Gaudiano will receive $100,000 from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to continue his research.

Dr. Schatten’s project is titled “Feasibility, Acceptability, and Preliminary Efficacy of a Novel Personalized Mobile Intervention for Suicide.” The goal of Dr. Schatten’s study is to develop a novel personalized mobile intervention for suicide, which includes interactive safety planning and direct communication with study clinicians through the mobile application. Following the intervention development period, Dr. Schatten and her team will conduct an open trial and randomized pilot trial among young adult partial hospital patients. Dr. Schatten will receive $97,684 from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to continue her research.  

Each application for AFSP funding is reviewed multiple times by the top suicide prevention researchers in the world. The research grants are funded mainly through individual donors who attend the AFSP walks and other public education events. Many of the AFSP grantees then go on to receive further funding from the National Institute of Mental Health and other large funding agencies.

For more information about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention please visit


About Butler Hospital

Butler Hospital, a member of Care New England, is the only private, nonprofit psychiatric and substance abuse hospital serving adults, seniors and adolescents in Rhode Island and southeastern New England. Founded in 1844, it was the first hospital in Rhode Island and has earned a reputation as the leading provider of innovative psychiatric treatments in the region. The Major Affiliated Teaching Hospital for Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Butler is recognized worldwide as a pioneer in conducting cutting-edge research.