Project Lift Up

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Principal Investigators

Kimberly J. Mitchell, Ph.D., Crimes against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire (UNH)

Victoria Banyard, Ph.D., Rutgers University


Michele Ybarra, MPH, Ph.D., Center for Innovative Public Health Research

Lisa Jones, Ph.D., Crimes against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire (UNH)

Shira Dunsiger, Ph.D., Brown University

Research Team

Deirdre Colburn, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Haylee Foster, Research Associate

Kieran Newcomb, Research Assistant


National Institutes of Health, Project Grant R01MH128269

Need for Study

Self-directed violence (SDV), defined as anything a person does intentionally that can cause injury to one’s self, including death (i.e., suicide attempt, suicide ideation, non-suicidal self-injury), is a significant public health issue. A growing number of SDV prevention programs train adults and peers (termed “gatekeeper training”) to be more active bystanders– to try to help when they see someone who may be at risk for self-injury. Such programs have demonstrated positive changes in knowledge and attitudes about suicide, but have had less success in changing behaviors in real world settings and few focus on youth and young adults as bystanders.  Limited impact may be due to the absence of longitudinal research on how SDV bystander actions unfold and what attitudes and barriers influence bystanders’ behavior.  A better understanding of the variables that promote successful SDV prevention behaviors could inform more effective SDV bystander actions.


This study involves a quantitative national survey of 5,000 youth and young adults, aged 13-22 years across three waves of surveys. Data are being collected 12-months apart with an oversample of SGM and racial/ethnic minority youth to support well-powered sub-group analyses. We choose to survey once yearly to allow for the opportunity of new SDV exposures and bystander behavior to occur. Three waves of data collection support the study of longitudinal trends, particularly time-varying correlates of longitudinal outcomes. In accordance with the CDC definition of SDV101 our measurement of SDV will include a range of behaviors including non-suicidal self-injury, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and death.

Impact of the Study

Findings from this research will identify ways to improve youth identification of and responses to persons at risk for SDV in ways that reduce SDV risk for themselves and others. A more thorough understanding of the impact of helping will enhance prevention efforts to teach and assess self-care and support for bystanders themselves.

For more information, contact:

Kimberly Mitchell, Ph.D.
Crimes against Children Research Center
University of New Hampshire
10 West Edge Drive, Ste. 106
Durham, NH 03824-3586
Phone (603)862-4533; Fax: (603)862-2899