To help implement Goals 8 (promote suicide prevention as a core component of health care services) and 9 (promote and implement effective clinical and professional practices for assessing and treating those at risk for suicidal behaviors) of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, building on the momentum of the Clinical Care and Intervention Task Force Report.
The Zero Suicide effort has introduced the idea that is now embedded in the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP) as Goal 8: Promote suicide prevention as a core component of health care services. Through the work of innovative community partners, we have also taken key steps to address Goal 9 of the NSSP: Promote and implement effective clinical and professional practices for assessing and treating those at risk for suicidal behaviors.
These are significant first steps. However, without further momentum for change, few lives will be saved. Change can be achieved through both bottom-up action (more health care providers and systems adopt the Zero Suicide mission and tools) and through top-down action (e.g. national standards and measures establish suicide prevention as a responsibility of health care systems and providers—not just as someone else’s responsibility). We look forward to dialogue about how this can be accomplished.
The Zero Suicide approach is a comprehensive approach for health care settings incorporating the best and most promising practices to prevent suicide. Health care settings engaged in a Zero Suicide approach can expect to save lives while reducing costs. This initiative builds on the momentum of a paper released by the Action Alliance’s Clinical Care and Intervention Task Force in 2011, Suicide Care in Systems Framework. The core components of Zero Suicide include: 1) Leadership committed to cultural transformation; 2) Continuity of care and shared service responsibility; 3) Immediate access to care for all persons in suicidal crisis; 4) Productive interactions between persons at risk and persons providing care; 5) Performance evaluation and use of quality improvement; 6) Policies and procedures; 7) Trained and skilled workforce; 8) Universal screening and suicide risk assessment.
The Zero Suicide Advisory Group (ZSAG) is a diverse committee comprised of several former members of the Clinical Care and Intervention Task Force as well as others representing various sectors of health care. The ZSAG, which first met in December 2013, will provide expert guidance to refine the clinical care model for use in various health and behavioral health systems with enough specificity to support the development of tools and implementation strategies that behavioral health care settings can employ to reduce suicide and suicide attempts by patients in their care.
The Zero Suicide Data Panel, a subcomponent of the ZSAG, will create a set of performance measurement tools by which health care organizations can assess lives lost by suicide for people under care. For programs engaged in a Zero Suicide effort, the tools will allow assessment of the impact of their initiative, benchmark the work of pilot sites, review performance, and assess progress with the goal of determining impact and developing an effective, replicable model.
The Action Alliance is supported by grants (1 U79SM062297) from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). No official endorsement by SAMHSA or DHHS for the information on this website is intended or should be inferred.
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