Suicide prevention strategies

Suicide is a serious and preventable public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities. While the causes of suicide vary, suicide prevention strategies share two goals: to reduce factors that increase risk and to increase factors that promote resilience or coping. Prevention requires a comprehensive approach that occurs at all levels of society—from the individual, family, and community levels to the broader social environment. Effective prevention strategies are needed to promote awareness of suicide, while also promoting prevention, resilience, and a commitment to social change.

CDC’s Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policies, Programs, and Practices pdf icon[6 MB, 62 Pages, 508] highlights strategies based on the best available evidence to help states and communities prevent suicide. The strategies and their corresponding approaches are listed in the table below.

Preventing Suicide

Preventing Suicide



 Strengthen economic supports
  • Strengthen household financial security
  • Housing stabilization policies
 Strengthen access and delivery of suicide care
  • Coverage of mental health conditions in health insurance policies
  • Reduce provider shortages in under-served areas
  • Safer suicide care through systems change
 Create protective environments
  • Reduce access to lethal means among persons at risk of suicide
  • Organizational policies and culture
  • Community-based policies to reduce excessive alcohol use
 Promote connectedness
  • Peer norm programs
  • Community engagement activities
 Teach coping and problem-solving skills
  • Social-emotional learning programs
  • Parenting skill and family relationship programs
 Identify and support people at risk
  • Gatekeeper training
  • Crisis intervention
  • Treatment for people at risk of suicide
  • Treatment to prevent re-attempts
 Lessen harms and prevent future risk
  • Postvention
  • Safe reporting and messaging about suicide

See Suicide Resources for articles and publications about prevention strategies for suicide. 


Need Help? Know Someone Who Does?
Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use the online Lifeline Crisis Chat

Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Both are free and confidential. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor in your area.

For more information, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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