The Zero Suicide Initiative is a commitment to suicide prevention in medical and behavioral healthcare systems. It emerged from the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention Commission and is supported by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA).
The initiative promotes the belief that suicide deaths for people under care are preventable. The goal of zero suicides among persons receiving care is ambitious, yet it is a goal many health systems aspire to achieve.
Nicole James, Crisis Team Specialist, leads the effort to implement Zero Suicide practices at SHS. The Zero Suicide approach is about improving the care for individuals at risk of suicide in healthcare systems. It represents a commitment to patient safety, and also to the safety of clinical staff, who treat and support suicidal patients.
“It’s about building awareness system-wide,” Nicole said. “It’s going to take some education about how to identify suicidal behaviors and react effectively.”
One key component of the initiative is increasing the engagement of the entire community, especially suicide attempt survivors, family members, policy makers and clinical staff.
The initiative uses a “toolkit” of practices in identification of suicidal behaviors, training effective responses, engaging support, and providing treatment.