What is Zero Suicide?
Zero Suicide is a key concept of the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, a priority of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance), a project of Education Development Center's Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), and supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The foundational belief of Zero Suicide is that suicide deaths for individuals under care within health and behavioral health systems are preventable. It presents both a bold goal and an aspirational challenge.
For health care systems, this approach represents a commitment:
- To patient safety, the most fundamental responsibility of health care
- To the safety and support of clinical staff, who do the demanding work of treating and supporting suicidal patients
The programmatic approach of Zero Suicide is based on the realization that suicidal individuals often fall through the cracks in a sometimes fragmented and distracted health care system. A systematic approach to quality improvement in these settings is both available and necessary.
The challenge and implementation of Zero Suicide cannot be borne solely by the practitioners providing clinical care. Zero Suicide requires a system-wide approach to improve outcomes and close gaps.
Download the printable two-page What is Zero Suicide? fact sheet for more information.
Essential Elements of Suicide Care
After researching successful approaches to suicide reduction, the Action Alliance’s Clinical Care and Intervention Task Force identified seven essential elements of suicide care for health and behavioral health care systems to adopt:
- Lead – Create a leadership-driven, safety-oriented culture committed to dramatically reducing suicide among people under care. Include survivors of suicide attempts and suicide loss in leadership and planning roles.
- Train – Develop a competent, confident, and caring workforce.
- Identify – Systematically identify and assess suicide risk among people receiving care.
- Engage – Ensure every individual has a pathway to care that is both timely and adequate to meet his or her needs. Include collaborative safety planning and restriction of lethal means.
- Treat – Use effective, evidence-based treatments that directly target suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
- Transition – Provide continuous contact and support, especially after acute care.
- Improve – Apply a data-driven quality improvement approach to inform system changes that will lead to improved patient outcomes and better care for those at risk.
Zero Suicide is a call to relentlessly pursue a reduction in suicide and improve the care for those who seek help.
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Use of Zero Suicide Videos
The videos on this site are subject to copyright owned by the Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC). Any reproduction or republication of all or part of these videos is expressly prohibited, unless EDC has explicitly granted its prior written consent. All other rights reserved. The names, trademarks, service marks and logos of EDC or the sponsors appearing in this video may not be used in any advertising or publicity, or otherwise to indicate sponsorship or affiliation with any product or service, without prior express written permission from EDC and the video sponsors. Neither EDC, nor any party involved in creating, producing or delivering information and material via this video, shall be liable for any direct, incidental, consequential, indirect, or punitive damages arising out of access to, use of or inability to use this video, or any errors or omissions in the content thereof.
Individuals and organizations are free to hyperlink to videos on the Zero Suicide website if credit is acknowledged. For all other cases, EDC will grant written consent for individuals and organizations seeking to use videos produced by EDC for non-profit use on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Teresa Sherman, senior project associate at the Zero Suicide Institute, for further discussion