Action Alliance Priorities

The Action Alliance is focused on advancing three major priorities based upon the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP), that, when accomplished, will help to reduce annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025.  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 and to promote the norm of providing social support and connectedness for vulnerable individuals.

As the public-private partnership working to make suicide prevention a national priority, the Action Alliance collaborates with our nation’s leaders and industries to leverage and bring about necessary change for these three critical priorities:

The success of these priorities can only be achieved by the commitment of numerous volunteers who have stepped up to help make change.  These organizations and professionals contribute to a vision that it takes the efforts of all sectors of society to turn the tide of suicide deaths and the pain of suicide attempts in the U.S.

 The Action Alliance is:

  • Promoting the adoption of “zero suicides” as an organizing goal for clinical systems—behavioral health and primary care— by supporting efforts to transform suicide care through leadership, policies, practices, and outcome measurements. This builds upon the momentum of the 2011 report released by the Action Alliance’s Clinical Care and Intervention Task Force, Suicide Care in Systems Framework. The Action Alliance, in collaboration with partner organizations, launched the Zero Suicide initiative, which includes a Zero Suicide website and toolkit, (link is external), expert faculty members, and technical assistance from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center to early adopter organizations who are implementing Zero Suicide. The Action Alliance continues to support the Zero Suicide initiative by expanding to more organizations and supporting efforts to evaluate outcomes.  The operational aspects of Zero Suicide are managed by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.
  • Exploring ways to expand the transformation of health care systems by scaling up implementation of best practices for Suicide Care in Emergency Departments.
  • Evaluating ways to extend our focus to Inpatient Care Transitions to increase implementation of best practices and protocols for inpatient psychiatric units to improve care transitions to outpatient and community services for all patients at risk for suicide.
  • Promoting the adoption of recommended standard care for people with suicide risk in primary care, behavioral health, and emergency department settings. Health care organizations already follow guidelines or standards to improve care to address other urgent medical conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, and serious injury from an accident – but up until now, they didn’t have suicide care guidance. The Action Alliance Recommended Standard Care report will help to ensure health care organizations have access to evidence-based recommendations to help prevent suicide.
We engage and leverage three key audiences whom play an important role in educating about, and elevating awareness of, suicide and suicide prevention to the public. News reporters (TV, print, radio, and digital) and suicide prevention messengers (such as government agency officials, advocates, first responders, suicide prevention professionals, faith leaders, suicide attempt survivors, family members or friends who lost a love one to suicide) and entertainment industry representatives – typically interact with and reflect messaging from each other, both reinforcing and challenging public narratives about important public issues – have the ability to transform the broader social narrative related to suicide and suicide prevention.
The goal of this priority is to change the national narratives around suicide and suicide prevention to ones that promote hope, connectedness, social support, resilience, treatment, and recovery. This priority is focused on fundamentally transforming attitudes and behaviors relating to suicide and suicide prevention.
The Action Alliance is:
  • Through working with national leaders in the journalism field the Action Alliance works to educate the U.S. media on balanced and responsible coverage of suicide and mental health reporting. With leadership from the Poynter Institute, reporters in broadcast, print, and digital media are being trained on ethical and safe reporting practices.
  • The way in which media covers suicide can influence behavior negatively by contributing to contagion or positively by encouraging help-seeking. We promote to news media the Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide, which encourage journalists to report on suicide in a safer and more help-focused way.
  • The 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 Framework aims to reframe messages by recommending that communications emphasize hope, resiliency, recovery, and prevention. Check out Framework overview document to learn more.
  • Studies have found that exposure to portrayals of suicide can negatively influence those already experiencing suicide risk factors (including depression and substance abuse). Storylines can have a tremendous impact helpful – or harmful – effect on viewers. We are developing resources and creating engagement opportunities aimed at reaching the entertainment industry. 

The Action Alliance is:

Identifying and disseminating a core set of elements/strategic framework for comprehensive community-based suicide prevention to states and communities. Recommendations will include, but not be limited to:

  • Reviewing the literature and conducting an environmental scan about community-based approaches to suicide prevention and other prevention areas that have been successful in a) helping community groups plan and implement efforts and b) reducing the burden of death and disease at the community level;
  • Exploring existing resources on advancing community prevention efforts (specific and non-specific to suicide) (e.g., new SPRC comprehensive approach, SPRC strategic planning framework, SAMHSA Strategic Planning Framework, CDC Community Health Improvement model, Getting to Outcomes, Collective Impact model, New South Wales Suicide Prevention Framework, etc.);
  • Identifying the key process, infrastructure, and programmatic elements of a comprehensive community-based approach for suicide prevention (e.g., leadership, champion, private sector engagement, local government engagement, evaluating efforts);
  • Maintaining a focus on burden reduction – in other words, suicide is an urgent problem for which we need to focus on the best available evidence to save lives.