Effective Prevention

This video provides a four-minute overview of the effective prevention model. 

Suicide is a complex issue that requires a multi-pronged approach to address effectively. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s Effective Suicide Prevention Model is designed to help develop and implement suicide prevention efforts in any setting.

Why is the effective prevention model important and useful?

The effective prevention model includes three elements—strategic planning, keys to success, and a comprehensive approach. These elements work together to make suicide prevention efforts successful in achieving desired outcomes and using limited resources most efficiently. Using these elements in combination can help you accomplish the following:

  • Develop suicide prevention programs, policies, practices, and services using a systematic, data-driven process
  • Address suicide prevention through multiple coordinated and evidence-based prevention strategies
  • Identify issues relevant to your specific population and setting, and select appropriate strategies to address them

How can the three parts of the model be used together?

You can adapt any part of the effective prevention model to fit your needs. However, it is best to start with the strategic planning process. If you have already done some of the strategic planning steps, you can start from wherever you are, e.g., assessing your progress partway through a project.

The steps of the strategic planning process are listed in the order they are generally carried out, but you can move back and forth between them. It is helpful to revisit previous steps since strategic planning is an ongoing process. It can also be useful to review your goals as you move through each of the steps. When you begin a new suicide prevention effort, you may need to start the strategic planning process again.

The keys to success are valuable to incorporate throughout the strategic planning process. They can also help you decide what strategies to use from the comprehensive approach. Selecting the strategies usually occurs in Step 4 of the strategic planning process.

Although only some of the keys to success may be relevant to your situation, doing strategic planning without using any of them may result in less effective suicide prevention efforts. For example, if you select an activity without enough evidence of effectiveness with your specific population, you may not reach them or have the desired impact. Or your communications campaign encouraging people to seek help could follow safe and effective messaging guidelines but not convey a clear action for the audience to take.

Case examples

The following examples of the effective prevention model in action were selected because they illustrate all three elements of the model. After reviewing each example, can you identify which strategic planning steps, keys to success, and comprehensive approach strategies are included in each one?