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.

Objective:   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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