Module 4 > Applying the technical package > Evaluation and learning
We often spend time upfront in developing strategies, and it’s just as important to evaluate the impact and learn from what we implement on an ongoing basis. Evaluating what works and doesn’t work to address risk factors, reinforce protective factors, and decrease rates of self-harm and suicide is a critical component of a public health approach to preventing suicide. As you develop strategies to reflect your community’s experiences, assets, and needs, evaluating your local efforts can help your community reflect and adapt, expand the evidence base for suicide prevention, and inspire other communities to innovate. While evaluators often emphasize quantitative indicators, qualitative data can provide richness and details that might not show up in the numbers, such as insights around why a strategy does or doesn’t work.
Visualizations like theories of change and logic models can help clarify how inputs, activities, and outputs connect to the outcomes we expect in the short, medium, and long term. They can also help in understanding how multiple efforts come together to build a comprehensive approach to preventing suicide and how strategies might connect and address other public health outcomes. Development of a theory of change or logic model can support both strategy development and evaluation. RAND Corporation’s Suicide Prevention Evaluation Toolkit offers more guidance on logic models and provides a template to create your own logic model (page 39).
Sample theories of change and logic models:
Resources for evaluation and learning
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