Aiming for Zero Suicides

January 17, 2020

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


Increasing numbers of health care organizations are integrating suicide prevention into patient care. Hundreds of health care systems across the country have adopted the Zero Suicide approach, implementing a comprehensive set of practices to prevent suicide among patients. Such practices include screening all patients for suicide risk, providing evidence-based treatments, and following up after inpatient and emergency department discharge. Other measures involve counseling patients at risk on access to lethal means and helping them to create safety plans in the event of a crisis. Aiming to reduce patient suicides to zero, these health care systems are making an organizational commitment to transformational change. “Suicide has historically been understood as the unfortunate but inevitable outcome in some patients with mental illness, and the Zero Suicide conviction challenges this assumption,” said M. Justin Coffey, chair of Geisinger’s Department of Psychiatry, Addiction Medicine, and Behavioral Health.

Spark Extra! Check out the Zero Suicide Toolkit.