Finding suicide risk in blood clues. Michigan patients to be tested.

By Ted Roelofs: For More Info, Go Here…

About four years ago, a decade of depression and anxiety built to a point where West Michigan resident Rob Qualls saw no good way out. Suicide beckoned.

“We were having financial trouble,” Qualls recalled.

“I had a plan. I was going to walk in front of a bus, so my family could have money from the life insurance. My 3-year-old walked in the room as I was contemplating everything.

“I just kind of started bawling. I can’t imagine a world without him in my life.”

The moment passed, as Qualls reached out for help, leading to a five-day stay at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services south of Grand Rapids.

Qualls, 36, realizes he was fortunate.

He’s now back on his feet, the father of a second child, holding a job as head brewer at a Grand Rapids brewpub, and better able to handle the ups and downs of life.

But in a state where suicide is the second leading cause of death for those age 15 to 34, a team of Michigan researchers asks: Could there be a way to detect a person’s vulnerability to suicidal impulses before they are acted on?

That’s the groundbreaking aim of a collaborative clinical study involving Pine Rest, the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids and the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry. It is supported by a five-year, $3.6 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health.

The goal: Identify agents in the blood that could be markers for suicide.

“The ultimate idea is that we may be able to provide an additional data point for who is at highest risk of suicide,” said Dr. Eric Achtyes of Pine Rest, the study’s lead physician researcher.

“That may help us be better able to treat them.”

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