Groundbreaking Resource Promotes Messaging about Suicide that is Strategic, Safe, Positive, and Prevention-Focused

June 18, 2014

National public-private partnership launches the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Framework for Successful Messaging

Washington, DC – (June 18, 2014) Today the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance) announces the launch of its highly-anticipated resource, the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Framework for Successful Messaging at SuicidePreventionMessaging.org. The resource was created by the Action Alliance as part of its priority to change the public conversation about suicide and suicide prevention.

While recommendations exist to assist news and entertainment professionals in covering suicide prevention safely, little guidance has been available for those in suicide prevention and behavioral health to effectively communicate to the public about suicide. The Action Alliance Framework for Successful Messaging outlines how individuals and organizations working in suicide prevention and behavioral health promotion can promote hope, help, and resilience, and ultimately help save lives.

The Action Alliance Framework for Successful Messaging aims to reframe messages suggesting that suicide is hopeless and unsolvable by recommending that communications emphasize hope, resiliency, recovery, and prevention successes. Research shows that certain types of messaging about suicide deaths can increase risk among vulnerable individuals. Conversely, positive and safe messaging can help individuals in crisis find the help they need and educate the public about how they can be involved in preventing suicide. 

“The Framework recognizes the important role that those of us in the suicide prevention and mental health fields have in helping to establish a balanced narrative around the issue—one that focuses on help and hope,” said Jack Benson, Partner at communications & marketing firm Reingold, and member of the Action Alliance’s Public Awareness and Education Task Force, which spearheaded the creation of this resource. “By focusing on messages of prevention, resources, and recovery, we can change the national conversation to let individuals know that many people do find help.”

The Framework for Successful Messaging outlines four key factors to consider when developing public messages about suicide, which are Strategy, Safety, “Positive Narrative" about suicide, and Guidelines. The website explains these four factors in detail and provides examples to illustrate the four components. The Action Alliance Framework for Successful Messaging will be useful for an array of organizations and individuals, including suicide prevention organizations, government officials, mental health organizations, researchers, community-based organizations, institutions conducting suicide prevention activities (such as colleges, schools, workplaces, and faith communities), advocacy groups, and individuals speaking to the public about their personal experiences, such as surviving a suicide attempt or losing a loved one to suicide. The Framework can help guide all types of communications about suicide, such as educational materials for the public, social media, newsletters, website content, event publicity, and public talks.

Access the resource today at SuicidePreventionMessaging.org to help change the conversation and save lives.

The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (www.ActionAllianceforSuicidePrevention.org) is the public-private partnership working to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and make suicide prevention a national priority. Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) operates the Secretariat for the Action Alliance, which was launched in 2010 by former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates with the goal of saving 20,000 lives in five years.

Contact: Liliya Melnyk, Communications Coordinator, 617-618-2457, lmelnyk@edc.org

Display on Media Page