Locating and Understanding Data for Suicide Prevention


(For resources, this is the publication date. For programs, this is the date posted.)

Close-up of colleagues examining charts and graphs


Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)
Education Development Center, Inc (EDC)

Data is critical to effective suicide prevention, but figuring out what data you need, where to find it, and how to make sense of it can sometimes feel overwhelming. This free online course from SPRC offers step-by-step guidance to help you find and interpret suicide-related data in order to target your prevention efforts effectively. The course explores a variety of commonly used data sources for information on suicide deaths and attempts, suicidal ideation, and related factors—as well as new frontiers in suicide surveillance, such as interactive dashboards and real-time data collection. It also explains key concepts that will help you better understand the data you find. This course is highly recommended for anyone involved in national, state, or community suicide prevention.

Handouts for this course include the following:

At a Glance: National Data Sources for Suicide

Mortality Data Considerations

Accessing Data about Suicidal Behavior among American Indians and Alaska Natives

Data on Suicidal Behavior among College and University Students

State and Local Data Sources

Making a Data Request

Another useful resource is the video Using Data to Prevent Suicide with Dr. Alex Crosby, a medical epidemiologist with the CDC