The goal of the Aging, Transitions over the Lifespan and Suicide (ATLAS) Study is to examine how major life transitions relate to suicide risk, with emphasis on identifying modifiable determinants that can inform prevention efforts over the lifespan. The project is funded by the National Institute on Mental Health (1R01MH12819801) and is led by Drs. Mezuk and Zivin (UM Department of Psychiatry), along with colleagues at the Depression Center and Institute for Social Research. The main activities of this project are to leverage existing population-based surveys to (1) examine the relationships between major life transitions across four domains (e.g., social relationships, work/school, health events/shocks, and moving/relocating) and risk of suicidal behavior over the life span; and (2) examine how individual-level and macro-level contextual characteristics moderate suicide risk.

The ATLAS Study was launched in response to calls from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and others for intervention efforts to consider pathways and mechanisms that contribute to suicide risk from a Life Course Framework. This framework focuses on how contextual factors (e.g., age, gender, race/ethnicity, social and environmental characteristics) shape proximal and distal risk and protective factors for suicidal behavior. The ultimate goal is to move away from viewing suicide prevention as solely crisis intervention to a more upstream approach that emphasizes mental health promotion.