Finding Programs and Practices

One of the steps in a strategic approach to suicide prevention is to find programs and practices that address the risk and protective factors that you will be targeting.

This page will help you:

  • Find sources of programs and practices
  • Use these sources effectively

Program Registries and Lists

Program registries and lists are great sources of information on suicide prevention programs and practices.

SPRC Resources and Programs Repository

This searchable repository provides information on several types of suicide prevention programs, such as education/training, screening, treatment, and environmental change.

  • Programs with evidence of effectiveness
    • Some of the programs included in this repository are designated as “Programs with Evidence of Effectiveness” (see box in Evidence-Based Prevention for an explanation). This is indicated in two ways:
    1. The icon (in search results)
    2. “Program with Evidence of Effectiveness” (under Type, at the top of individual program descriptions)
    • These programs have been evaluated and found to result in at least one positive outcome related to suicide prevention.
  • Other included programs
    • Programs without the icon were previously listed in Section III of the SPRC Best Practices Registry. To be listed, the program content was reviewed for adherence to standards of accuracy, safety, likelihood of meeting objectives, and program design. Outcome data (whether the program had evidence of effectiveness) were not a part of the BPR review process.

SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP)

Please be aware that SAMHSA’s National Registry for Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) has been discontinued, and that SAMHSA has reconfigured its approach to identifying and disseminating evidence-based policies and programs. For more information, please read Assistant Secretary Elinore F. McCance-Katz’s statement about NREPP and evidence-based practices. Because SPRC used NREPP in the past to help identify programs with evidence of effectiveness that are relevant to suicide prevention, the following information is provided for reference.

This online registry included more than 500 substance abuse and mental health programs. However, it was not a comprehensive list of all possible interventions.

  • Programs listed in NREPP that had outcomes related to suicide prevention were included in the SPRC Resources and Programs repository referenced above, and designated as "Programs with Evidence of Effectiveness."
  • Please note that NREPP changed its review criteria in 2015. The interventions in SPRC’s Resources and Programs repository are a mix: some were reviewed under the pre-2015 criteria, while others were reviewed using the post-2015 revised criteria and rating system. For more information, see Overview of NREPP Criteria and Ratings.
  • The quality and level of evidence varied across the interventions listed in NREPP. Carefully review the information provided about each intervention, including the outcomes studied, the research findings for each outcomes, and the strength of the evidence.

SAMHSA's Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center

This Resource Center contains a collection of science-based resources for a broad range of audiences. The resources include Treatment Improvement Protocols, toolkits, resource guides, clinical practice guidelines, and other resource types. Users can search by topic area, substance, or condition, as well as by resource type, target population (e.g., Youth, Adult), and target audience (e.g., resource for Clinicians, Prevention Professionals, Patients, Policymakers). This Resource Center is especially useful for identifying resources relevant to the effective care and treatment of people with serious mental illness, a population that is at higher risk for suicide.

Other Program Registries and Lists

Many other registries and lists are available, each with its own focus and criteria. The resources below offer many additional sources of information on programs, including programs targeting specific groups and “upstream” prevention programs:

Be sure to follow the guidance below on how to use program registries and lists. Just because a program appears on an evidence-based registry or other list doesn’t make it a good suicide prevention program for a particular population or setting!

Using Program Registries and Lists

When looking at existing programs, keep in mind that although a program was shown to be effective in changing one or more outcomes, that doesn’t mean it will work for your population, setting, or goals. Be sure to look for programs that address the risk and protective factors identified in your needs assessment and are the most appropriate for the group(s) you are trying to reach.

Here are some tips for selecting programs:

  • Avoid simply “picking from the list.” Program registries and lists are useful tools, but they are not substitutes for thoughtful data-driven strategic planning.
  • Start with a needs assessment. Before consulting a registry, conduct a local assessment of the problem, risk and protective factors, and current efforts.
  • Understand the registry or list. Examine the definitions, criteria, and evidence ratings used by each registry or list.
  • Assess relevance. Look for programs that address the underlying risk and protective factors and the conditions that drive or contribute to suicide in your context.
  • Pay attention to outcomes and evidence ratings. For each program you’re considering, examine the outcomes that were evaluated and the strength of the research evidence for each outcome. Use that information to choose approaches with more evidence that is relevant for your population, setting, and goals.
  • Consider practical fit. Choose programs that match your population, setting, and culture and that are feasible in terms of capacity, resources, and readiness to act.