Suicide Prevention in Core Health Care

Promote suicide prevention, screening, intervention, and treatment as core components of health care services with effective clinical and professional practices.

   Provide training and technical assistance to health care professionals on the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, Zero Suicide, and best practices for suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.


Individuals & Families:

  • Encourage help seeking behavior for treatment services for mental health conditions, loss and grief, trauma, sexual assault, or physical abuse.
  • Educate family members and significant others about their role in providing help and support to people with mental health conditions and who may be at risk for suicide.
  • Continue contact and support, especially after a loved one has been in care.

Non-profit, Community-Based, Faith-Based, and Businesses

  • Ensure every person has a pathway to care that is both timely and adequate to meet their needs.
  • Systematically identify and assess suicide risk levels among people at risk.
  • Ensure that individuals who typically provide services to suicide survivors have been trained to understand and respond appropriately to their unique needs.
  • Promote positive mental health as being a result of community and environmental factors and not just related to the individual.
  • Coordinate services among suicide prevention and intervention programs, health care systems, 211, and national suicide prevention hotline service. 

Schools, Colleges, and Universities:

  • Train student healthcare providers to provide ongoing depression screening, assessment, and treatment for student.


  • Promote the safe disclosure of suicidal thoughts and behaviors by all patients.
  • Train primary care and mental health clinicians to provide ongoing depression screening, assessment, and treatment for youth, adults, and elders.
  • Use effective, evidence-based care, including collaborative safety planning, restriction of lethal means, and effective treatment of suicidality.
  • Develop, disseminate, and implement
    guidelines/protocols for clinical practice and continuity of care for providers who assess and treat persons with suicide risk.
  • Encourage health care delivery systems to incorporate suicide prevention and appropriate responses to suicide attempts as indicators of continuous quality improvement efforts.
  • Support hospital emergency departments, substance abuse treatment centers, specialty mental health treatment centers, and various institutional treatment settings to collaborate in the screening, treatment and follow-up of suicide risk among youth and adults with the intent of providing continuity of care.
  • Create a leadership-driven, safety-oriented culture that commits to dramatically reducing suicide among people under care and includes suicide attempt and loss survivors in leadership and planning roles.
  • Integrate mental health and substance abuse
    professionals in primary care offices to provide integrated physical, mental health, and substance abuse screening, assessment, and treatment.  

Policy and Systems:

  • Enhance and support the Vermont Designated Agency Mental Health Crisis System to serve youth and adults throughout the state.
  • Apply a data-driven quality improvement approach to inform system changes that will lead to improved patient outcomes and better care for those at risk.
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