June 22, 2016

Zero Suicide—An Effective Approach to Suicide Prevention

Despite the fact that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, suicide prevention programs in formal health care settings remain relatively rare.

But EDC’s Julie Goldstein Grumet believes there is significant evidence to support a comprehensive prevention approach in these settings. She points to EDC’s Zero Suicide initiative as an effective model for quality improvement in “Suicide Prevention: An Emerging Priority for Health Care,” an article in Health Affairs coauthored with Michael Hogan.

In the article, Goldstein Grumet and Hogan explore Zero Suicide’s screening, treatment, and support framework. They also examine the positive results of system-wide suicide prevention intervention models in behavioral health systems, including Michigan’s Henry Ford Health System and Centerstone in Tennessee.

“Research shows that in health care settings, systematic detection, treatment, and follow up for clients at risk of suicide can save lives,” says Goldstein Grumet. “This evidence is important because traditionally suicide prevention has not been an integrated part of either primary or behavioral health care. Tools are now available that health care systems should be utilizing.”

The Zero Suicide initiative, launched by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, was based on components of care found in several health care systems that showed significant reductions in suicide rates for patients in their care. Resources and implementation support are now provided by EDC’s Suicide Prevention Resource Center with support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The initiative is a key concept within the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and continues to be a leading priority of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.