Project Summary

PCORI has identified the need for large studies that look at real-life questions facing diverse patients, caregivers, and clinicians. In 2014, PCORI launched the Pragmatic Clinical Studies initiative to support large-scale comparative effectiveness studies focusing on everyday care for a wide range of patients. The Pragmatic Clinical Studies initiative funded this research project and others.

This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.

What is the research about?

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among teens in the United States. After a suicidal event, such as serious thoughts about taking their own life or suicide plans or attempts, most teens get inpatient psychiatric care. Inpatient care involves staying overnight or longer in the hospital. However, some patients and their families prefer treatment outside of the hospital. Outpatient crisis intervention clinics, or OCICs, offer intensive mental health care without the need for a hospital stay.

In this study, the research team is comparing inpatient psychiatric care to OCICs for treating teens after a suicidal event. The team is looking to see how well each treatment setting reduces the risk of suicidal events.

Who can this research help?

Results may help doctors, teens, and families considering psychiatric care settings for treatment after a suicidal event.

What is the research team doing?

The study includes 1,000 teens who had a suicidal event. The research team is enrolling teens from four emergency departments, or EDs. The team is dividing the teens into two groups that are similar in terms of age, gender, and other factors. Then, the team is assigning the groups by chance to either receive inpatient or OCIC treatment. 

With inpatient treatment, teens receive mental health care in the hospital. Clinicians manage their daily therapy and medicines. With OCIC, teens have crisis intervention therapy appointments outside the hospital. Therapy begins within three days of the teen’s visit to the ED and lasts for one to six weeks.

The research team is looking at health records and forms the patients complete to see if teens have another suicidal event in the six months after their ED visit and if so, how many. Every other week during these six months, teens and their guardians also complete surveys to identify suicidal thoughts and behaviors and rate life satisfaction. Two weeks after teens begin treatment, the team is asking teens how satisfied they are with their treatment. The team also wants to know whether details like age or having insurance can help identify which teens may be at risk of not going to treatment.

Teens and parents, psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, and people who specialize in providing community mental health care are helping to plan and conduct the study.

Research methods at a glance

Design Element Description
Design Randomized controlled trial
Population 1,000 teens ages 12–18 who visit an ED with suicidality and who require a high level of care (OCICs or inpatient psychiatric care)
  • Inpatient psychiatric care
  • OCIC care

Primary: first recurrence of a suicidal event, number of suicidal events

Secondary: treatment satisfaction, satisfaction with life, relationship between demographics and no-show risk

Timeframe Timeframe Length of follow-up for collecting data on primary outcomes. View Glossary 6-month follow-up for primary outcome

Project Information

Drew Barzman, MD
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
A Multi-Site Study to Compare the Outcomes of Psychiatric Treatment of Suicidal Adolescents in Different Treatment Settings

Key Dates

November 2018
July 2025

Study Registration Information


Has Results
Health Conditions Health Conditions These are the broad terms we use to categorize our funded research studies; specific diseases or conditions are included within the appropriate larger category. Note: not all of our funded projects focus on a single disease or condition; some touch on multiple diseases or conditions, research methods, or broader health system interventions. Such projects won’t be listed by a primary disease/condition and so won’t appear if you use this filter tool to find them. View Glossary
Populations Populations PCORI is interested in research that seeks to better understand how different clinical and health system options work for different people. These populations are frequently studied in our portfolio or identified as being of interest by our stakeholders. View Glossary
Intervention Strategy Intervention Strategies PCORI funds comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies that compare two or more options or approaches to health care, or that compare different ways of delivering or receiving care. View Glossary
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: September 26, 2023