December 17, 2019

A Gift of Hope…

Richard C. Elliott (1945-2008)
Vibrational Field #43 courtesy of Jane Orelman on


Dear Friend of JKBF,
There is snow here in the mountains, and holiday lights join our amazing stars to grace our valley with twinkling joy. Friends and families gather and connect in traditions and celebrations as another year comes to a close.
But here, and in many households across our nation, there is an empty place at the table. 
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in America. For our youth, it ranks second. Far too many lives are cut short, with stories untold, promise unfulfilled, and loved ones left behind in pain and bewilderment.
As individuals and communities, we talk more openly about mental health concerns, but there is still stigma. We have increased therapeutic resources, and yet considerable challenges remain in access to timely care and effective expertise. We don’t have a way to know who is at imminent risk and are often caught off guard as half of those who die do so on the first attempt. In the US, 129 people die by suicide each day and the numbers are going up. Federal funding for biological research on suicide is dismal.
At JKBF, we believe that the science is telling us that suicide can be prevented through a greater focus on the biological drivers of suicide. That psychosocial approaches are important and necessary, but not sufficient or effective for everyone. We have a strategy to grow the emerging area of biological research, but we need your help.  
JKBF’s science strategy is to increase attention to, and funding for, investigation of bio-environmental factors associated with suicide. We are field-building: supporting and connecting bold biological thinkers, recruiting young investigators, and partnering with established research organizations. Not only should this research provide novel medical tools for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, but a better understanding that there is a biological basis of suicide helps to decrease stigma for those who suffer, and for those who love them.

‘While they have no immediate clinical application, findings from various scientific areas already allow the clinicians and their patients to talk about suicide in a non-judgmental way with a body-anchored perspective.‘– Fabrice Jollant, MD, PhD, ISSR Abstract 6.1

There is hope in the biology. Our social media hashtag, #MindBodyConnect is a reflection of our focus on improving understanding of the numerous physical factors that might combine to raise the risk of suicide–ranging from sleep and inflammation, to medications, infections, exposures, the microbiome, and more. 
But we need your help. 
Please consider a year-end gift  to JKBF. We will dedicate all year-end donations, with a two-to-one match up to $30,000, to our science program. 
Together we can speed up science, reduce stigma, and save lives. In this time of giving, what better to give than the gift of hope? 
Blessings of the season to you and yours,
Liz Bell
Executive Director
James Kirk Bernard Foundation 

IASR president-elect Gil Zalsman, MD with awardee Arthur Ryan, PhD and Liz Bell at the IASR and AFSP Suicide Research Summit

“The JKBF award gave me the opportunity to meet leading scientists from across the world who study the biology of suicide. The ability to forge collaborative relationships with scientists from the US, Canada, Norway, and Israel is invaluable for someone starting out their career, especially in the field of suicide biology, where researchers are dispersed across academic disciplines and the globe. I hope that JKBF can continue to provide other early career investigators with these opportunities.”   -Arthur Ryan, PhD, first recipient of the James Kirk Bernard Foundation Award for Excellence in the Biological Exploration of Suicide