ATLANTA—Assistant professor Laura Shannonhouse of Georgia State University’s College of Education & Human Development will be the principal investigator on a two-year, $699,362 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to conduct research on preventing suicide and promoting life with older adults.
Shannonhouse will partner with the Atlanta Regional Commission and faculty at the University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech on the research, which will equip more than 320 nutrition services volunteers to promote life with more than 1,400 older persons through home visits and at meal sites. Her team will test several training models to determine which is the most effective.
In addition, the Association of Adult Development and Aging will evaluate the 13 Georgia State graduate students who will be participating in this research. There is a national shortage of counselors interested in working with older adults, the fastest growing population segment.
At the end of the two-year project, Shannonhouse and her team hope to see increased suicide intervention skills among nutrition services volunteers, increased identification of older people who are considering suicide and improvements in older adults’ mental health outcomes. They also plan to create an operations manual to replicate suicide intervention innovation in other area agencies on aging.
“Nutrition service volunteers consistently see emotional distress and suicidal behaviors in older adults, for example, those who voluntarily stop eating and drinking, but often don’t know how to help. We will equip them to provide life-assisting interventions when they are needed the most,” Shannonhouse said. “Atlanta will have the first nutrition services workforce trained in evidence-based suicide intervention skills and what we learn will help us transform how we care for older adults across the nation.”
For more information about the grant, visit https://www.hhs.gov.