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Suicide: Prevention Strategies

Suicide is a serious but preventable public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities. While it might have multiple interrelated causes, 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 also 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

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

  1. Beautrais A, Fergusson D, Coggan C, Collings C, Doughty C, Ellis P, et al. Effective strategies for suicide prevention in New Zealand: a review of the evidence. N Z Med. 2007; 120(1251), U2459.
  2. Brown GK, Green KL. A review of evidence-based follow-up care for suicide prevention. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2014; 47(3S2):S209–S215.
  3. 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.
  4. 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].
  5. Mann JJ, Apter A, Bertolote J, et al. Suicide prevention strategies: a systematic review. Journal of the American Medical Association 2005; 294:2064-74.
  6. National Research Council. Reducing Suicide: A National Imperative. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2002.
  7. O'Neil ME, Peterson K, Low A, Carson S, Denneson LM, Haney E, Shiroma P and Kansagara D. Suicide Prevention Interventions and Referral/Follow-up Services: A Systematic Review. VA-ESP Project #05-225; 2012.

Other Resources


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