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active projects

The PURPOSE Lab is committed to using research in ways that enhance the quality of life for members of historically underserved and marginalized communities. We do so using a mix a survey, qualitative, and intervention data. An overview of our current projects is provided below.

Image by Suad Kamardeen


Black youth suicide prevention project

Suicide is a leading cause of death for Black youth in the U.S., and the rates of suicide among this population have increased dramatically in recent years. Our team is working to combat this crisis by developing a school-based suicide prevention program for Black middle school students in Chicago. 

Before actually implementing the intervention, we are first recruiting Black parents and their middle school-aged children to participate in interviews with our research team in order to gain their perspectives about the mental health needs of Black youth in Chicago today.

This project is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and will run from 2022-2025. Please contact us to learn more about the study. Interested parents should follow this link to determine if you are eligible for participation. 


blk in covid-19

The global COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately shaped the health and well-being of Black families across the country. However, the unique experiences of Black Americans has been overlooked and understudied in research. 

Therefore, we collected online surveys from Black adults across the U.S. in 2022 and are now analyzing those data to answer important questions about Black Americans' mental health and well-being experiences during the pandemic.


We have already published studies from this dataset that focus on topics ranging from suicide prevention to mistrust of the government and COVID-19 vaccine decisions. Please visit the links below for additional details: 

  1. Goodwill, J.R. (2023). ​Purpose in the pandemic: Fear of COVID-19, hopelessness, meaning in life, and suicidal thoughts among two samples of Black Americans. American Psychologist. [read here]

  2. Goodwill, J.R. & Fike, K.J. (2023). Black in the pandemic: Comparing experiences of mistrust, anxiety, and the COVID-19 vaccine among Black adults in the U.S. Social Science & Medicine[read here]

  3. Goodwill, J.R. (2024). Measuring hope and joy among Black Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Journal of Positive Psychology[read here]

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suicide trends in chicago

Dr. Goodwill recently led a paper titled "Suicide in Chicago: Method and trends across race, ethnicity, age, and sex from 2015-2021" that analyzes trends in suicide rates across different groups in Chicago. The findings point to serious concerns regarding increased risk for suicide among Black and Latino communities in the city. We also found differences in the method some groups used to end their lives -- which offers much needed insight into areas where researchers can develop interventions that diminish risk and ultimately prevent future deaths. 

This first peer-reviewed manuscript from this study will be published in a forthcoming issue of the American Journal of Public Health. We will provide visitors to our website with a copy of the paper once it is available. Updates regarding other studies published from this dataset will be posted in the coming months. Please join our newsletter mailing list to receive updates regarding this project, and others. 


suicide survivors study

The Suicide Survivor Study (S3) aims to identify the reasons why people consider ending their lives. We want to hear directly from those who have lived through suicide risk and now moving forward in their healing journey. If you are someone with a history of suicidal ideation, planning, or attempt and would be interested in completing an interview with our team then please click here to see if you meet the eligibility criteria required for participation. 

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