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UT Tyler Nursing Professor Awarded Canadian Research Grant

Dr. John Cutcliffe, David G. Braithwaite professor of nursing at The University of Texas at Tyler, has been awarded a research grant to examine the post discharge experiences of former suicidal inpatients, Dr. Linda Klotz, UT Tyler College of Nursing and Health Sciences dean, announced.

This particular study seeks to better understand and explain why the period of time (up to one year) after discharge from formal psychiatric services is a particularly high-risk time for formerly suicidal people.

The $200,000, two-year grant was awarded to Cutcliffe by the Canadian federal government under the auspices of the Canadian Institutes of Health and was one of only two mental health-focused studies that received funding.

Dr. Paul Links, professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and Cutcliffe are joint principal investigators in the study, though a research team that also includes investigators from British Columbia.

“The epidemiological data are compelling. The evidence indicates that persons discharged from inpatient care are 65 times more likely to take their own life in the year following discharge than a member of the public,” Cutcliffe said. “We are aware that a couple of ‘hunches’ have been proposed as to why that may be the case, but there is a distinct absence of robust data that explains this phenomenon and thus, indicates what we might do as mental health clinicians to alleviate this problem. Our study has a number of aims: we’re exploring whether continuity of care makes a difference. We will also be looking at the level of social and ongoing mental health community support.”

Cutcliffe and Links, along with the team of researchers, will conduct research that includes a 12-month follow-up study with various clients.

“We’re also searching for the essence of the experience; the particular lived-experiences of being discharged after receiving inpatient care as a result of being a high suicide risk. If we can more comprehensively understand what the nature of the experience is, I believe we are then better placed to design and implement interventions that can combat the elements of the person’s experiences that increase his/her suicidality,” Cutcliffe added.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 70 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of nearly 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.


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