About STAR-Center

Services for Teens At Risk (STAR-Center) is a suicide prevention program for teens and young children within the Division of Child and Adolescent Services at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh. From its inception in 1986, the program has been primarily funded through an appropriation from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to the University of Pittsburgh.

On June 6, 1986, David Brent, MD and Dr. Mary Margaret Kerr provided testimony to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ Task Force on Teenage Suicide. Subsequently, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided funding to initiate the Star-Center. The program was the first and still the only comprehensive youth suicide intervention center in the State of Pennsylvania and one of the first centers in the nation, founded specifically to address the issues surrounding youth suicide.

As of July 2007, with the assistance and funding of WPIC, the STAR-Center expanded their clinical services to include an Intensive Outpatient Program for acutely depressed and suicidal teens. Additionally, we expanded our outpatient programming to include depressed and anxious children and teens.

In summary, STAR-Center is a program, that combines clinical and outreach services designed to combat the problem of child and adolescent suicide. We provide outpatient assessment and treatment for depressed and anxious children and teens. We also offer acute treatment to depressed and suicidal teens via our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP).

STAR-Center Outreach adapts and disseminates what we have learned about best practice clinical care into practical guidelines for educational and community settings and offers trainings and consultations. STAR Center is devoted to providing training opportunities for students and psychiatric residents as well as contributing to the future development of research designed to study the pressing issues related to child and adolescent suicide.

We strive to integrate education, intervention, and research into a seamless whole, because our research informs our interventions, our experience in intervention drives our research, and both shape our educational mission.

Our Mission

The mission of the STAR-Center is to provide state-of-the-art youth suicide prevention through the specialized and evidence based assessment and treatment of children and adolescents suffering from depression and or anxiety.

Who We Are

Dr. Brent co-founded and now directs Services for Teens at Risk (STAR), a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania-funded program for suicide prevention, education of professionals, and the treatment of at-risk youth and their families. In 2002 he was appointed as the first Endowed Chair in Suicide Studies and in 2009 a Professor in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Learn more about who we are »