California suicide prevention program demonstrates promise, studies find

June 12, 2015

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News
Speaker:  California

Medical Xpress

A large-scale suicide prevention media campaign in California is showing early signs of successfully increasing awareness among the state’s residents, according to an evaluation by the RAND Corporation. RAND says its research suggests that Know the Signs, created by the California Mental Health Services Administration (CalMHSA), has reached more than half of the state’s adults with ads that introduce suicide warning signs and direct viewers to an educational website to learn more. In addition, study co-author Rajeev Ramchand noted that “We found evidence that the mass media campaign is making California adults more confident in their ability to intervene with someone who is at risk for suicide.” In a second report, RAND did an economic assessment of another CalMHSA effort, in which community leaders such as clergy, first responders, and educators receive intensive Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). RAND estimates that over the next few years the state could save $1,100 in reduced spending on emergency care and lost productivity for every $1 invested in such trainings. “We demonstrate how investments in preventing suicide can actually benefit the state’s economy,” said J. Scott Ashwood, lead author of the ASIST evaluation.

Spark Extra! Learn more about California’s Know the Signs social marketing campaign.