Core Competency: Community and Political Support

Obtaining community and political support is a vital part of planning, implementing, and sustaining your comprehensive approach to suicide prevention.

Community support. Partnering with key players and cultivating and nurturing community champions can contribute to the long-term sustainability of key aspects of your program. A critical step that should be addressed regularly throughout program planning is assessing community readiness for suicide prevention. A community readiness assessment will help you understand your community’s knowledge of suicide prevention and its willingness to support your efforts. A thoughtful and strategic assessment can also help you build connections in the community to mobilize and engage key community members. Engaging key community members in the planning and implementation stages allows you to tailor your program to the community, as well as build support and increase ownership of your program.

Political support. It is also vital to engage community leaders and obtain their support. Key leadership and political will can support your program efforts in many ways, such as influencing and directing resources to support the infrastructure your program is building. Furthermore, it is important to recognize that as political leadership changes, so may the political will, which could influence available resources and infrastructure.

Core Competencies

  • You assess your community’s readiness for suicide prevention.
  • You identify and cultivate champions among community and legislative leaders.
  • You identify strategies to keep stakeholders and community members engaged in your efforts.
  • You advocate for public policy changes to sustain suicide prevention.
  • You plan for leadership and political changes to maintain program momentum.

How Your SPRC Prevention Specialist Can Help

Your Prevention Specialist can:

  • Help you strategize how to effectively engage community members in ways that allow your initiative to build on their shared views and common goals to achieve a preferred community vision
  • Troubleshoot challenges that may interfere with community engagement
  • Share ideas of how to harness the energy of the community so that they can shape their own future in an inclusive way that promotes belonging, individual level support, and community level integration
  • Identify strategies to nurture community champions who can contribute to changing the dialogue in the community by carrying your message forward, advocating for public policy change to sustain suicide prevention, and make other unique contributions drawn from the community’s strengths
  • Help you plan and adjust for any political changes that may affect your program