About Zero Suicide

The Zero Suicide Initiative is a commitment to suicide prevention in health and behavioral health care systems.

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 cracks in a fragmented, and sometimes distracted, health care system. A systematic approach to quality improvement in these settings is both available and necessary.

The challenge and implementation of a Zero Suicide approach cannot be borne solely by the practitioners providing clinical care. Zero Suicide requires a system-wide approach to improve outcomes and close gaps.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Train – Develop a competent, confident, and caring workforce.
  3. Identify – Systematically identify and assess suicide risk among people receiving care.
  4. 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.
  5. Treat – Use effective, evidence-based treatments that directly target suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
  6. Transition – Provide continuous contact and support, especially after acute care.
  7. 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.

Zero Suicide Advisory Group

The Zero Suicide Advisory Group (ZSAG) provides expert guidance to the Zero Suicide Initiative. Participants include former members of the Clinical Care and Intervention Task Force as well as professionals from various health care sectors.

Meet Our Staff

Chelsea Booth, PhD, Manager, Zero Suicide Institute, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, EDC 
816-226-6574
 
 
Lisa CapocciaLisa Capoccia, MPH, Assistant Director of Health and Behavioral Health Initiatives, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, EDC
617-618-2907
 
 
Adam ChuAdam Chu, MPH, Senior Project Associate, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, EDC
617-618-2947
 
 
Julie Goldstein GrumetJulie Goldstein Grumet, PhD, Director of Health and Behavioral Health Initiatives, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, EDC
202-572-3721
 
 
Clayton Kratz, Project Coordinator, Health and Behavioral Health Initiatives, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, EDC
202-572-5361
 
 
Jan UlrichJan Ulrich, Senior Project Associate, Health and Behavioral Health Initiatives, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, EDC
 
 

What's on this Site

The Zero Suicide Toolkit is a collection of information, tools, resources, and activities for health and behavioral health care leaders and leadership teams to assist them in implementing the seven elements of Zero Suicide.

The annual Zero Suicide Academy is held in Washington, D.C. The Academy provides the tools and support for organizations to adopt approaches to dramatically reduce suicide among patients receiving care. Leadership teams learn the seven elements of Zero Suicide and collaborate with faculty to develop their own action plans.

Search our collection of readings, tools, and videos.

Zero Suicide is an evolving initiative. Check out upcoming events as well as the newest stories, resources, and tools.

Are you in the early stages of adopting and implementing a Zero Suicide approach? Do you need advice or guidance?

Request a consultation. We can help you get started, work through obstacles, and approach your work more effectively.

We have a growing community of people spreading the Zero Suicide approach across health and behavioral health care. Find out how to join our community.

For Champions is for individuals wanting to influence health and behavioral health care systems to improve care provided for people at risk for suicide and to support their families.

Readings

What is Zero Suicide?
  • PDF
Suicide Care in Systems Framework WEB
The Power of Zero: Steps Toward High Reliability Health Care WEB

Tools

Quick Guide to Getting Started with Zero Suicide
  • PDF
Zero Suicide Organizational Self-Study
  • PDF
Zero Suicide Work Plan Template
  • PDF

SPRC and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention are able to make this web site available thanks to support from Universal Health Services (UHS) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) (grant 1 U79 SM0559945).

No official endorsement by SAMHSA, DHHS, or UHS for the information on this web site is intended or should be inferred.