Grant goes to suicide prevention treatment

Assistant Professor Marisa Marraccini has won a career development grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to develop and conduct initial testing of a “mixed reality” supplement to interventions for adolescents being treated in hospitals for suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

The grant will support four years of development and testing of an intervention that uses “mixed reality” — including both virtual and augmented reality — technology as a supplement to the treatment adolescents receive in hospitals for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The intervention will enable adolescents to view and react to simulations of situations they may encounter when they return to school, giving them an opportunity to rehearse their reactions.

“The premise is that in the hospital there’s really no way to practice responding to what students will face in schools in a meaningful way,” said Marraccini. “This will prepare them for their return to school, but also enhance their skill mastery and hopefully push them to use their skills because they’ve had opportunities to practice.”

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