COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — NBC4 held a live conversation with Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s, Dr. John Ackerman, Ph.D., suicide prevention coordinator of the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research (CSPR) at Nationwide Children’s.

Dr. Ackerman’s new research center, the CSPR, will be housed in NCH’s Behavioral Health Pavilion.

The conversation continued at 5:30 with a live question and answer session.

Meeting the needs of our youth where they are… in the schools: Identifying at-risk youth earlier

If you are in an emergency, life-threatening situation, call 9-1-1 or go to an emergency department.

Mental health needs are increasing, and we all have a role in identifying and supporting youth at risk for suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death to youth ages 10-19.

The Big Lots BHP is one part of a comprehensive effort to support our community’s most vulnerable kids. At Nationwide Children’s, we are fostering solutions to address the mental health crisis.

We are engaged in upstream prevention, meaning, we are meeting many needs earlier in the process so that fewer young people will require the acute services at the BHP in the first place.

Nationwide Children’s SOS program

Our behavioral health clinicians work very closely with our community’s schools on the evidence-based Signs of Suicide (SOS) program. SOS identifies youth and adolescents who may be at risk for suicide and teaches them how to respond when they notice warning signs.

The SOS program empowers communities by teaching the warning signs of suicide and steps to take to seek help should teachers, parents or peers identify a young person considering suicide.

We want to identify these kids and get them the appropriate help they need before they are ever in crisis. Research tells us that youth will either be in crisis or encounter friends or family in crisis, so having the tools to make a difference is key.

Screening for depression and suicide is also done throughout the hospital for youth age 10 to 17 who present for behavioral health reasons as part of our effort to eliminate the preventable risk of all types here at Nationwide Children’s.


If someone you care about is in an emergency, life-threatening situation, call 9-1-1 or go to an emergency department. For crisis situations that are not life-threatening, please call your county’s psychiatric crisis line number. In Franklin County, call (614) 722-1800 for youth and adolescents 17 and under. Ages 18 and older should call (614) 276-2273. If someone you care about is having thoughts of suicide or needs to talk, encourage them to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you prefer to text, you can text “START” to 741-741 where a live, trained specialist will respond back to you.

CLICK HERE for more information on Nationwide Children’s SOS program.

This content, in partnership with NBC4, is sponsored by Nationwide Children’s Hospital