Suicide Science and Research

The research mission of JKBF is to explore the biology of suicide in order to identify biological and lifestyle risk factors and pathways involved in suicide behavior.

Suicide is complex, widespread, and multi-factorial. While it is evident that mental health conditions, trauma, and psychosocial factors are contributors to suicide risk, these issues alone do not always explain suicidal action. JKBF is interested in the exploration of physiological factors that might operate independent of, or in addition to, previously recognized factors that influence suicide risk. The ultimate hope is to uncover avoidable exposures or modifiable mechanisms that will create new approaches for treatment and suicide prevention.

The scientific program of JKBF therefore focuses on identifying biological markers, risk factors and pathways beyond the more traditionally-studied psychosocial and mental health concerns. JKBF supports efforts to uncover physiological catalysts that lead to suicide behaviors and to understand how these operate to create or to influence at-risk individuals. Based on early research in this arena, biological or non-psychosocial environmental risk factors of interest may include infectious agents, allergens, nutritional status, lifestyle factors, medications, traumatic brain injuries, and chemical exposures, among others. Biological mechanisms of interest include immune activation and inflammation, epigenetics, neurobiological signaling pathways, energy metabolism, oxidative stress, and the microbiome, as well as other areas of inquiry not conventionally prioritized in suicide research.

JKBF is dedicated to advancing our understanding of the biological contributors to suicide and fostering and connecting scientists—from biochemists to neuroscientists to epidemiologists–engaging in early stage research on these topics. Furthermore, through collaborations and community engagement, we hope to empower researchers, practitioners, and those who face the challenges of suicide to increase awareness and understanding of mind-body connections, resilience, and health.

Note: The information provided on our site is for educational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider before starting or stopping any treatment. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting on this information. If you or others need immediate attention please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Topical Deep Dives

Our writers explore topics and mechanisms with some evidence of biological or lifestyle concerns that may influence or be associated with suicide risks or prevention.

News From the Web

Online articles from news sources and websites that highlight mind-body connections and biological and environmental factors in suicide and mental health.

From the Scientist

Contributions from researchers in the field of suicide prevention that describe recent scientific findings related to biological factors in suicide.

JKBF Science News Posts

Our blog articles on the science connecting biological, lifestyle, and environmental factors to mental health concerns and suicide risk and prevention.

From the Clinician

Contributions from doctors and therapists in the mental health field that describe the biological underpinnings and factors related to their work.

From the Lived Experience

Real-life insights on interactions between lifestyle and biological factors and mental health or suicidality. Personal stories of #mindbodyconnections.


Summary of findings from JKBF's 2013 think tank of researchers exploring a variety of biological factors, pathways, and mechanisms in the field of suicide.