Suicide: Prevention Strategies
Suicide is a serious but preventable public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities. While its causes are complex the goal of suicide prevention is simple—reduce factors that increase risk and increase factors that promote resilience or coping. With a public health approach, prevention occurs at all levels of society—from the individual, family, and community levels to the broader social environment. Effective prevention strategies are needed to promote awareness of suicide while at the same time promoting prevention, resilience, and a commitment to social change.
A public health approach to suicide prevention may be undertaken using the following resources:
Strategizing for Suicide Prevention
- National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (Department of Health and Human Services)
This revised national strategy emphasizes the role every American can play in protecting their friends, family members, and colleagues from suicide. It also provides guidance for schools, businesses, health systems, clinicians and many other sectors that takes into account nearly a decade of research and other advancements in the field since the last strategy was published.
- Strategic Direction for the Prevention of Suicidal Behavior: Promoting Individual, Family, and Community Connectedness to Prevent Suicidal Behavior [PDF 507KB]
This document describes a five-year vision for the CDC’s work to prevent fatal and nonfatal suicidal behavior. Our key strategy is promoting individual, family, and community connectedness.
- State Suicide Prevention Planning: A CDC Research Brief; Atlanta, GA [PDF 4MB]
This document summarizes the results of a CDC research study conducted to describe the key ingredients of successful state-based suicide prevention planning.
Effective and Promising Programs
- Best Practices Registry: Suicide Prevention Resource Center
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), in collaboration with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, maintains the Best Practices Registry (BPR). This registry, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, identifies, reviews, and disseminates information about best practices that address specific objectives of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.
- SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices
The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) is a searchable online registry of mental health and substance abuse interventions that have been reviewed and rated by independent reviewers.
Reviews of Preventive Interventions
- Beautrais, A., Fergusson, D., Coggan, C., Collings, C., Doughty, C., Ellis, P., et al. (2007). Effective strategies for suicide prevention in New Zealand: a review of the evidence. N Z Med J, 120(1251), U2459.
- Gould MS, Greenberg T, Velting DM & Shaffer D. Youth suicide risk and preventive interventions: A review of the past 10 years. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2003; 42:386-405.
- Krug, EG, Dahlberg, LL, Mercy, JA, Zwi, AB, and Lozano. R. (2002). Chapter 7. Self-Directed Violence. In the World Report on Violence and Health Geneva, World Health Organization. [PDF 239KB]
- Mann JJ, Apter A, Bertolote J, et al. Suicide prevention strategies: a systematic review. Journal of the American Medical Association 2005;294;2064-74.
- National Research Council. Reducing Suicide: A National Imperative. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2002. Available online at: http://www.nap.edu/books/0309083214/html/
- Preventing Suicide: Program Activities Guide
Describes CDC’s public health activities and research to prevent suicide and suicidal behavior.
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