National Strategy for Suicide Prevention
On September 10, 2012 the Action Alliance, along with the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, released the revised National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP). The revised strategy emphasizes the role every American can play in protecting their friends, family members, and colleagues from suicide. It also provides guidance for schools, businesses, health systems, clinicians and many other sectors that takes into account nearly a decade of research and other advancements in the field since the last strategy was published.
The NSSP features 13 goals and 60 objectives with the themes that suicide prevention should:
- Foster positive public dialogue; counter shame, prejudice, and silence; and build public support for suicide prevention;
- Address the needs of vulnerable groups, be tailored to the cultural and situational contexts in which they are offered, and seek to eliminate disparities;
- Be coordinated and integrated with existing efforts addressing health and behavioral health and ensure continuity of care;
- Promote changes in systems, policies, and environments that will support and facilitate the prevention of suicide and related problems;
- Bring together public health and behavioral health;
- Promote efforts to reduce access to lethal means among individuals with identified suicide risks;
- Apply the most up-to-date knowledge base for suicide prevention.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius joined the Surgeon General and the Action Alliance Co-Chairs, Secretary of the Army, The Honorable John McHugh and The Honorable Gordon H. Smith, President and CEO, National Association of Broadcasters, for the launch of the revised NSSP. The event also featured the stories of help, hope and recovery from the field. View archived video of the launch event.
Action Alliance Priorities
From the revised NSSP, the Action Alliance has selected four priorities that, when accomplished, will help the group reach its goal of saving 20,000 lives in the next five years. The priorities were chosen because of their potential to produce the systems-level change necessary to substantially lower the burden of suicide in our nation. The priorities chosen are:
- Integrate suicide prevention into health care reform and encourage the adoption of similar measures in the private sector.
- Transform health care systems to significantly reduce suicide.
- Change the public conversation around suicide and suicide prevention.
- Increase the quality, timeliness, and usefulness of surveillance data regarding suicidal behaviors.