Mental Health Research

Mental Health Research at workFranciscan Children’s is committed to proactively addressing the mental health crisis through research. Our Mental Health Research Program was established in 2014 to identify practices and interventions to improve the outcomes for children and adolescents living with mental illness, with a particular emphasis on suicidal thoughts and behaviors.  As a key component to our commitment to improving the lives of children and adolescents struggling with mental illness, we conduct research across all levels of care including acute inpatient, acute residential, outpatient and well-child screening in primary care pediatrics.

Our multidimensional research efforts are designed to:

  • Identify those youth at greatest risk of negative post-discharge outcomes, particularly readmission and self-harm, through identification of predictive traits
  • Better understand the decision making and learning processes associated with both non-suicidal self-injury and suicidal behaviors
  • Use evidence-based standardized assessments to measure factors (e.g., trauma, interpersonal connectedness) that place youth at greatest risk for negative outcomes
  • Identify and address accompanying diagnoses (e.g., ASD) and symptomatology (e.g., sleep disturbances) that may be overlooked and negatively impact a mental health diagnosis
  • Use real-time monitoring to predict when youth are at risk for experiencing distress that may result in suicidal behaviors


Research Collaborators

Harvard University:
Matthew Nock, PhD
Evan Kleiman, PhD

Boston College
Jessica Black, PhD

McLean Hospital
Kerry Ressler, PhD

Massachusetts General Hospital
Gagan Joshi, MD


Grant Support

Patient Centered Research Outcomes Institute (PCORI)
Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services
Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts
Yawkey Foundation
Rockland Trust Foundation

Want to learn more about our mental health research?
Contact Carol Nash, Director of the Mental Health Research Program, at 617-779-1114 or

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