Module 2 > Collaboration 

A public health approach to suicide prevention spans public, private, and community sectors, frequently touching both critical and social infrastructure. Often, a public health department convenes partnerships, engaging community members and other sectors to work toward a shared vision. Depending on the strategy, partnerships to prevent suicide might include the public health, mental health, healthcare, education, employment/labor, housing, social services, and business sectors, among others. Partners from different sectors bring different knowledge and strengths based on:

  • what kind of job they do (e.g. outreach and communication, informing or setting local priorities, operations), 

  • where they work along the prevention continuum, 

  • which populations they work with, 

  • which risk and protective factors their job impacts or focuses on, and

  • their personal or lived experience. 

An intentional multi-sector approach allows local government agencies and community-based organizations with differing mandates to address wellbeing simultaneously with their other organizational priorities. This “health in all policies” approach to prevent suicide becomes particularly important during catastrophic events.


  • The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention is an example of a public-private partnership to prevent suicide on a national level. Its Executive Committee includes representatives from the public sector, private industries, faith-based organizations, healthcare, entertainment, behavioral health, social media, substance use, research and development, finance, the National Football League, academia, and more. Advisory Groups and Task Forces focus on reaching faith communities, workplaces (especially the public safety sector and construction industry), American Indian/Alaska Native populations, the sport industry, juvenile justice settings, and service members, veterans and their families. 

  • The Colorado National Collaborative,  led by the Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention (ICRC-S) at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, leveraged local data to develop and test a comprehensive set of suicide prevention strategies. Working with local and national stakeholders such as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and local non-governmental organizations and health systems, the collaborative implemented evidence-based prevention strategies for at-risk youth, veterans, older adults, and middle-aged men in six priority counties as part of a coordinated statewide approach.

Reflection question: What are your goals related to suicide prevention, and what would be your desired outcomes in collaborating with others? 

Additional resources

  • For more on statewide partnerships to prevent suicide, see the Suicide Prevention Resource Center's Virtual Learning Lab on this topic. State-level infrastructure provides a backbone for local suicide prevention efforts, and is important to build up before a disruption occurs. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s State Suicide Prevention Infrastructure Recommendations provide guidance on developing this broader foundation for the work. 

  • For those interested in partnering with the media, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has developed guidance for journalists, including tips and recommendations for reporting on suicide.

  • The Safe States Alliance's roadmap Strengthening Partnerships between Business and Public Health is a tool  to advance violence prevention by fostering collaboration between public health and the business sector.

  • Zero Suicide is a framework for health and behavioral health care systems to improve suicide care, intervention and treatment through system-wide transformation. The online toolkit developed by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center provides additional guidance and examples.

Next lessons in this section

Continue to the next lessons of the "Collaboration" section of Module 2 to dig deeper into why collaboration is key:


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