What is Zero Suicide?
The Zero Suicide framework is a system-wide, organizational commitment to safer suicide care in health and behavioral health care systems. The framework 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.
Inspired by health care systems that had seen dramatic reductions in patient suicide, Zero Suicide began as a key concept of the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, and quickly became a priority of National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance), and a project of Education Development Center's Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
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
Zero Suicide implementation requires transformative change that 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 system-wide culture change committed to reducing suicides
- Train a competent, confident, and caring workforce
- Identify individuals with suicide risk via comprehensive screening and assessment
- Engage all individuals at-risk of suicide using a suicide care management plan
- Treat suicidal thoughts and behaviors using evidence-based treatments
- Transition individuals through care with warm hand-offs and supportive contacts
- Improve policies and procedures through continuous quality improvement
Zero Suicide is a call to relentlessly pursue a reduction in suicide and improve the care for those who seek help.
Meet Our Staff
Sadé Ali, MA, Senior Project Associate, Zero Suicide Institute, EDC
Chelsea Booth, PhD, Associate Director, Zero Suicide Institute, EDC
Adam Chu, MPH, Manager, Health and Behavioral Health Initiatives, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, EDC
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