American Association of Suicidology

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American Association of Suicidology
American Association of Suicidology's Logo.png
FounderEdwin Shneidman
Type501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, advocacy group
PurposeSuicide prevention
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
Membership (2016)
almost 1,000
LeaderJulie Cerel

The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which advocates for suicide prevention. It was established in 1968 by Edwin Shneidman, who has been called "a pioneer in suicide prevention."[1] Its official journal is Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, published six times a year by Wiley-Blackwell.


The American Association of Suicidology encourages further study in the field of suicidology by clinicians as well as the general public. The AAS states their mission is to encompass advanced study into suicidology as a field of science, educate the public in efforts to reduce the number of suicides worldwide, analyze and break down suicidal behaviors, and promote further research and training in the growing field of suicidology.[2] The AAS hosts a campaign for both National Suicide Prevention Month and Week as well as public awareness campaigns to introduce new research and preventative measures for people who are currently dealing or have dealt with suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The AAS offers handbooks for suicide survivors and their friends and families to promote healing and a better understanding of suicidal triggers and causes.[2]


Suicidology is the study of suicidal behaviors, risk factors of those behaviors, and suicide prevention. Suicidology combines both psychology and sociology to analyze the causes of suicidal behaviors and effective prevention methods.[3]

Risk factors[edit]

Research has pointed towards hopelessness, impulsivity, social isolation, and exposure to violence as strong risk factors surrounding suicide.[3]

Support groups[edit]

The Annual Healing Conference and the Survivors of Suicide are support groups that work to combat the risk factors of suicide through the emphasis on social interaction and interpersonal relationships. Educational programs and suicide specific skills and knowledge have proven effective in the treatment of suicidal patients.[4]


Membership of the AAS includes but is not limited to mental and public health professionals, researchers, suicide preventionists, interventionist and crisis intervention centers, as well as suicide survivors and those interested in suicide prevention.[2]


The AAS currently offers four different types of suicide prevention programs.[5]

Survivors of Suicide[edit]

The Survivors of Suicide program aims at helping suicide survivors connect with one another and share their experiences in a group setting.[5]

Training and accreditation[edit]

Training and Accreditation programs focus on utilizing techniques and skills to eliminate suicidal behaviors. Mental health professionals, school and youth personnel, and crisis workers primarily make up this program.[5]


Annual conferences are held by the AAS where researchers and practitioners gather to discuss the best research in the field of suicidology.[5]

National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide[edit]

The National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide includes a Youth Advisory Board that provides insight on projects aimed at suicide prevention and reaching its adolescent demographic.[5]


Number of Training Events by Year 2016 2017
23 31
Total Number of Organization Members by Year 2016 2017
1,176 1,199
Number of Conference Attendees by Year 2016 2017
1,102 1,259
Number of Participants Engaged in Programs by Year 2016 2017
966 783



Research points to a severe lack of training in suicide prevention within many fields of psychology and social work. Numbers from a national survey reported fewer than 25% of social workers having been trained in suicide prevention.[6] The AAS is determined to prevent inadequately trained social workers and mental health professionals from working with potentially suicidal patients who display suicidal risk factors. The AAS believes promoting research and effective training--not only for mental health professionals and social workers, but also for the general public--will help prevent inadequate treatment by those in the fields of psychology and social work.[7]

Plans for the Future[edit]

The AAS plans to spread suicidology as a field of scientific study and strives to reduce the number of suicide cases through research and analysis.[2] In efforts to improve the field of suicidology, the International Academy for Suicide Research launched a task force to combat suicidal behaviors, causes, and risk factors to come up with better solutions and prevention programs.[3]



  1. ^ "Pioneer In Study Of Suicide Dies At 91". NPR. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Mission | American Association of Suicidology". Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  3. ^ a b c d W., Maris, Ronald (2000). Comprehensive textbook of suicidology. Guilford Press. ISBN 978-1572305410. OCLC 462543007.
  4. ^ a b Klonsky, E. David; May, Alexis M. (2013-12-07). "Differentiating Suicide Attempters from Suicide Ideators: A Critical Frontier for Suicidology Research". Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. 44 (1): 1–5. doi:10.1111/sltb.12068. ISSN 0363-0234. PMID 24313594.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SUICIDOLOGY - GuideStar Profile". Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  6. ^ a b Leenaars, Antoon A.; Leo, Diego De; Diekstra, Rene F. W.; Goldney, Robert D.; Kelleher, Michael J.; Lester, David; Nordstrom, Peter (1997). "Consultations for research in suicidology". 3 (2): 139–151. doi:10.1080/13811119708258266.
  7. ^ a b Schmitz, William M.; Allen, Michael H.; Feldman, Barry N.; Gutin, Nina J.; Jahn, Danielle R.; Kleespies, Phillip M.; Quinnett, Paul; Simpson, Skip (2012-04-11). "Preventing Suicide through Improved Training in Suicide Risk Assessment and Care: An American Association of Suicidology Task Force Report Addressing Serious Gaps in U.S. Mental Health Training". Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. 42 (3): 292–304. doi:10.1111/j.1943-278x.2012.00090.x. ISSN 0363-0234.

External links[edit]