Suicide Prevention

In the United States alone, someone dies by suicide once every 11 minutes. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals 20 to 34 years of age in Tennessee and affects people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic groups. While there is no typical victim, suicide is one of the most preventable causes of death. Anyone can step in and prevent a tragedy if they are able to identify someone in crisis and approach properly.

Zero Suicide was created to help healthcare systems prevent patients from slipping through the cracks in care.

Suicide Prevention Zero suicide image

What is Zero Suicide?

The Zero Suicide Initiative’s goal can be found within its name – to reduce the number of deaths by suicide to zero. Studies show that many individuals who die by suicide will see a healthcare provider in the year prior to their death. We believe that suicide is preventable for patients of health and behavioral health organizations, and our mission is to save lives through systemwide, transformational change.

We can reach Zero Suicide by providing safe and effective care. To do this, an organization must focus on seven key elements

1. Lead system-wide culture change committed to reducing suicides.
2. Train a competent, confident, and caring workforce.
3. Identify individuals with suicide risk via comprehensive screening and assessment.
4. Engage all individuals at-risk of suicide using a suicide care management plan.
5. Treat suicidal thoughts and behaviors directly using evidence-based treatments.
6. Transition individuals through care with warm hand-offs and supportive contacts.
7. Improve policies and procedures through continuous quality improvement.
Suicide Prevention what is zero suicide
Commitment and consistency in utilizing these elements have shown that suicide and suicide attempts can be reduced in healthcare systems. Our Zero Suicide Initiative program works directly with partnering organizations across the state, providing training, education, and support in implementing the Zero Suicide framework.

What can you do if you suspect someone is contemplating suicide?

Suicide Prevention be aware

Be aware

Learn the warning signs.

Suicide Prevention Get involved

Get involved

Become available. Show interest and support.

Suicide Prevention Ask directly

Ask directly

if the person is thinking about suicide. Talk openly and freely about suicide.

Suicide Prevention Be willing to listen

Be willing to listen

Be non-judgmental.

Suicide Prevention Connect 2


the person to resources.

Or you can be trained in suicide prevention.

Trainings Offered

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)

ASIST is a two-day in-person suicide intervention training. It is designed for anyone over the age of sixteen, from community members to those who work directly with those experiencing thoughts of suicide. The training covers warning signs, providing an intervention, and developing a collaborative safety plan with the person experiencing thoughts of suicide.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a day-long intensive mental health training. You’ll learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of suicide at three stages: early, worsening, and crisis. You will also learn how to intervene with someone experiencing a mental health challenge by learning the ALGEE Action Plan. This training takes approximately 8 hours to complete and can be completed in person, virtually, or in a hybrid format. We offer MHFA for Adults and MHFA for Youth, as well as modules for First Responders and Military/Veterans, so you can customize the training to the population you work with.

Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR)

QPR is a one to two-hour virtual or in-person training about suicide prevention. It is designed for anyone over the age of eighteen. Participants learn how to recognize warning signs of suicide, ways to initiate conversation, and methods of providing help.

Signs of Suicide (SOS)

Signs of Suicide (SOS) is an hour-long universal suicide prevention training for middle and high school students that teaches students how to recognize warning signs of suicide in themselves and their friends and peers. In addition to the Middle School and High School curriculum, we also offer trainings for school staff and for parents. In the SOS program, students learn how to ACT- Acknowledge signs of suicide, demonstrate they Care, and Tell a trusted adult. SOS is an interactive program with age-appropriate videos and guided classroom discussions about how to help a friend showing signs of suicide.

In 2022, we have trained 923 people in suicide prevention.