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Zero Suicide in Health Systems
An aspirational answer to a complex challenge
The Implementation of Zero Suicide in Health Systems, funded by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is a framework to improve suicide care for those within health and behavioral health systems.
The rate of suicide in Kansas increased 65 percent between 2001 and 2020. Most people who attempt suicide make some type of health care visit in the weeks or months before the attempt.
Putting into action each of the seven Zero Suicide elements will save lives. Watch this brief video to learn more about the program.
The Seven Elements of Zero Suicide in Health Systems
A commitment to suicide prevention in health and mental health care systems by operationalizing the core components necessary to transform suicide care into seven elements.
Lead a system-wide culture change committed to reducing suicide
- Top leadership within the health system is committed to the belief that suicide is preventable.
- Leadership assures staff believe that suicide can be prevented through in a safe and blame free culture.
Train a competent, confident and caring workforce
- Ensures both clinical and non-clinical staff are trained and confident in providing caring and effective assistance to individuals at risk of suicide.
- Employees are assessed for the beliefs, training, and skills needed to care for individuals at risk of suicide.
Identify and assess individuals with suicide risk via comprehensive screening and assessment
- Universal screening for suicide risk is routine in all health care systems.
- A formal assessment is completed on those who are found to be at risk of suicide.
Engage patients at risk for suicide in a care plan
- Those found for being at risk for suicide have a safety plan developed collaboratively with a clinician or health care worker.
- The health care system strives to keep individual engaged through patient centered care, timely, quality and culturally relevant treatment and care.
Treat suicidal thoughts and behaviors directly
- Treatments used are evidence best practices and known to reduce suicide.
- Care is provided in least restrictive setting.
Transition: provide continuous and supportive contacts, especially after acute care.
- Caregivers and clinicians bridge patient transitions from inpatient, Emergency Department, or primary care to outpatient mental healthcare.
- People discharged from care receive follow up collaboration and communication from providers.
Improve policies and procedures through continuous quality improvement
- Data is collected and evaluated on a routine basis
- Successes and failures in care are identified and policies and procedures are revised as needed
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center, a federally funded project, developed the Zero Suicide Toolkit. Their complete toolkit uses research, tools and videos to walk implementers through putting the Zero Suicide framework into practice.