National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP)

NSSP emphasizes the role all Americans can play in protecting their friends, family members, and colleagues from suicide. It provides guidance for schools, businesses, health systems, clinicians, and others based on nearly a decade of research and advancements in the field.

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention

This public-private partnership advances the NSSP (see above) in pursuit of their vision of a nation free from suicide. The Alliance champions suicide prevention as a national priority, catalyzing efforts to implement high priority objectives of the NSSP, and cultivating the resources needed to sustain progress. AFSP supports the Action Alliance and AFSP leadership sits on the Alliance’s Research Prioritization Taskforce.


Key Research Findings

Screening and engaging individuals in treatment

Moutier C., et al. (2012). The suicide prevention and depression awareness program at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Academic Medicine, 87(3): 320–6.

Educating the medical community to recognize and treat depression

Henricksson S., Isacsson G. (2006). Increased antidepressant use and fewer suicides in Jämtland county, Sweden, after a primary care educational programme on the treatment of depression. Acta Psychiatr Scand, 114(3): 159-67.

Rutz W., von Knorring L., Walinder J. (2000). Frequency of suicide on Gotland after systematic postgraduate education of general practitioners. Acta Psychiatr Scand, 80: 151-4.

Szanto K., Kalmar S., Rihmer Z., Hendin H., Mann J.J. (2007). A suicide prevention program in a very high suicide rate region. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 64(8): 914-20.

System-wide suicide prevention approaches: the US Air Force as a model program

Knox K.L., Pflanz S., Talcott G.W., Campise R.L., Lavigne J.E., Bajorska A., et al. (2010). The US Air Force suicide prevention program: implications for public health policy. American Journal of Public Health, 100(12), 2457-63.

Knox K.L., Litts D.A., Talcott G.W., Feig J.C. & Caine E.D. (2003). Risk of suicide and related adverse outcomes after exposure to a suicide prevention programme in the US Air Force: cohort study. BMJ, 327(7428), 1376.

Limiting access to means of suicide

Gunnell D. & Miller M. (2010). Strategies to prevent suicide. BMJ, 341, c3054. doi:10.1136/bmj.c3054

Anderson S. (2008, July 6). The urge to end it all. Retrieved from

Media guidelines for reporting on suicide

Gould M.S., Shaffer D. & Kleinman M. (1988). The impact of suicide in television movies: replication and commentary. Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior, 18(1), 90–9.

Gould M.S., Davidson L. (1988). Suicide contagion among adolescents. In A.R. Stiffman & R.A. Feldman (Eds.). Advances in adolescent mental health. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Personal follow-up interventions for suicide attempters

Fleischmann A., Bertolote J.M., et al. (2008). Effectiveness of brief intervention and contact for suicide attempters: a randomized controlled trial in five countries. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 86(9): 703–709.

Motto J.A. & Bostrom A.G. (2001). A randomized controlled trial of postcrisis suicide prevention. Psychiatric Services 52(6): 828–833.

Other interventions to decrease suicide attempts

Beautrais A.L., et al. (2010). Postcard intervention for repeat self-harm: randomized controlled trial. British Journal of Psychiatry, 197: 55–60.

Carter G.L., Clover K., Whyte I.M., Dawson A.H. & D'Este C. (2007). Postcards from the EDge: 24-month outcomes of a randomised controlled trial for hospital-treated self-poisoning. British Journal of Psychiatry, 191: 548–53.

Vaiva G., Ducrocq F., et al. Effect of telephone contact on further suicide attempts in patients discharged from an emergency department: randomized controlled study. BMJ, 332(7552):1241–5.

Targeted psychotherapy for suicide attempters

Brown, G.K., Have T.T., et al. (2005). Cognitive therapy for the prevention of suicide attempts: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 294(5): 563–570.

Linehan M.M., Comtois K.A., Murray A.M., et al. (2006). Two-year randomized controlled trial and follow-up of dialectical behavior therapy vs therapy by experts for suicidal behaviors and borderline personality disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 63: 757–66.

Medication treatment for depression

Baldessarini R.J., Tondo L., Davis P., Pompili M., Goodwin F.K. & Hennen J. (2006). Decreased risk of suicides and attempts during long-term lithium treatment: A meta-analytic review. Bipolar Disorders, (8): 625–39.

Duman R.S. & Aghajanian G.K. (2012). Synaptic dysfunction in depression: potential therapeutic targets. Science, 338(6103): 68–72.

Guzzetta F., Tondo L., Centorrino F. & Baldessarini R. J. (2007). Lithium treatment reduces suicide risk in recurrent major depressive disorder. J Clin Psychiatry, 68(3): 380–3.

Sondergard L., Kvist K., Lopez A.G., Andersen P.K. & Kessing L.V. (2006). Temporal changes in suicide rates for persons treated and not treated with antidepressants in Denmark during 1995-1999. Acta Psychiatr Scand, 114: 168–76.

Trivedi M.H., Rush A.J., Wisniewski S.R., Nierenber A.A., Warden D., Ritz L., Norquist G., Howland R.H., Lebowitz B., McGrath P.J., Shores-Wilson K., Biggs M.M., Balasubramani G.K. & Fava M. (2006). Evaluation of outcomes with citalopram for depression using measurement-based care in STAR*D: Implications for clinical practice. AM J Psychiatry, 163: 28–40.