Evidence-Based Suicide Prevention Program Implementation Resources

  • Lead

    Develop leadership drives that 1) mobilize staff to believe that suicide can be prevented and 2) have an unwavering focus maintaining that zero suicides is the goal. These are the keys to a reduction in suicide deaths. Read about resources related to system-wide culture change committed to reducing suicides.

  • Train

    It is essential to assess staff skills and train in key skills that ensure the fundamentals of the organization’s suicide prevention philosophy, policies, and protocols. Training should be relevant to the staff member’s role and responsibilities and be basic research-informed training on suicide identification for all staff. Training to all clinical staff should ensure a basic level of skill in assessing, managing, and treatment planning for patients at risk of suicide, including safety planning and reduction of access to lethal means, and advanced training to deepen skills and increase confidence and effectiveness.

  • Identify

    Every client is screened for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The purpose of the screening is to plan effective suicide care. Once a screening shows some risk for suicide, further information is gathered with the aim of producing a “risk formulation” based on the patient's specific context. Learn how to identify individuals with suicide risk via comprehensive screening and assessment.

  • Engage

    All individuals at risk of suicide should be engaged using a suicide care management plan. This includes close monitoring and engagement at every encounter. Read how organizations can design and implement policies related to suicide care management/engagement.

  • Treat

    According to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, the research evidence strongly supports targeting and treating suicidal ideation and behaviors specifically and directly, independent of diagnosis, as well as any diagnosed mental health or substance use problem. Read how to treat suicidal thoughts and behaviors using evidence-based treatments.

  • Transition

    It is important to transition individuals through care with warm hand-offs and supportive contacts. Transitions are high risk times, and it is important to address suicide risk at every visit.

  • Improve

    It is important to review policies and procedures for continuous quality improvement. Data-driven quality improvement is essential to ensure improved patient outcomes and better care for those at risk of suicide. Read how to create a plan to assess fidelity to suicide prevention initiative.