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Title: Development and evaluation of an avatar-guided mobile health intervention for emerging adults with alcohol misuse and suicidality (EA-Avatar)
Funder: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Grant #R00AA29154 
Funding: $747,000.00
PI: Lourah Kelly, PhD

Description: Emerging adults have higher rates of binge drinking, thoughts of suicide, and suicide attempts than any other age group, but very low use of substance use treatment. The R00 phase of this project pilots refines, and evaluates a novel mobile health intervention guided by an avatar for emerging adults who binge drink and experience thoughts of suicide.

The intervention is implemented within the emergency department as a key point of healthcare service entry. Because emerging adults prefer mobile health and self-guided interventions and such technology is widely accessible, the proposed mobile health intervention could offer significant public health benefits in reducing alcohol use problems and suicidal thoughts in emerging adults.

This newly funded R00 is part of a phased K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award which supports Dr. Kelly’s transition from postdoctoral fellow to independent research scientist, through training, mentorship, and a pilot research project.

Learn More

Mobile health intervention study for binge drinking, suicide risk among young adults to start at UMass Chan

By Pat Sargent, January 22, 2024

A pilot project evaluating the benefits of a mobile health intervention tool for young adults who visit the emergency department and who binge drink and experience thoughts of suicide will launch at UMass Chan Medical School in early 2024.  Continue reading the article

Can Avatars Help Young Adults Manage Alcohol Use Problems & Suicidal Thoughts?

S.T.A.Y. Tuned Podcast Episode 14

Can a mobile intervention using avatars help young adults manage their mental health after being discharged from the emergency department? Dr. Lourah Kelly’s “Avatar Project” explores this possibility. Watch/listen to the podcast