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What is a suicide prevention framework, plan and program?

A suicide prevention framework, plan and program are comprehensive strategies that show how a group or community can work together to reduce the suicide epidemic.

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Any successful prevention plan provides avenues how to help people in immediate need of assistance.

But in addition, it should also lay out ideas on how to raise awareness about the issue and increase the factors that strengthen, support and protect individuals from suicide.

States, communities, population groups, schools, workplaces and health organization should all have some sort of documented strategy when it comes to planning how to decrease the number of deaths by suicide while increasing the resources available to help those who are struggling with self-destructive thoughts. You can build your own suicide prevention plan with ISPN's online toolkit.

Suicide prevention strategies should focus on the unique influences and experiences that work together to place an individual on a path toward or away from suicidal behaviors. Called risk and protective factors, these underlying elements help to determine an individual’s ability to avoid or engage in harmful behaviors that lead to suicide. There is no singular reason for suicidal thoughts or actions. They occur in response to numerous biological, psychological, relational, environmental, and societal influences that mix together over a period of time. Prevention must occur on multiple levels – from the individual, family, and community layers, as well as the broader Indiana and national social environments.

Any prevention measure is strengthened when it is part of a comprehensive and strategic plan that addresses all angles of suicide. The Indiana Suicide Prevention Network is here to be your resource library while you put together a plan that serves the populations that need to hear your message. Effective suicide prevention plans address several areas from increasing awareness about the topic while also laying out programs that promote efforts that work together to increase suicide awareness, while also promoting intervention, resilience, postvention and a commitment to social change.

Examples of prevention strategies (and ways to carry them out) identified by the Centers for Disease Control

  • Strengthen economic supports
    • Strengthen household financial security
  • Strengthen access and delivery of suicide care
    • Coverage of mental health conditions in health insurance policies
    • Reduce provider shortages in undeserved areas
    • Safer suicide care through systems change
  • Create protective environments
    • Reduce access to lethal means among persons at risk of suicide
    • Organizational policies and culture
    • Community-based policies to reduce excessive alcohol use
  • Promote connectedness
    • Peer norm programs
    • Community engagement activities
  • Teach coping and problem-solving skills
    • Social-emotional learning programs
    • Parenting skill and family relationship programs
  • Identify and support people at risk
    • Gatekeeper training
    • Crisis intervention
    • Treatment for people at risk of suicide
    • Treatment to prevent re-attempts
  • Lessen harms and prevent future risk
    • Postvention
    • Safe reporting and messaging about suicide

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