National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention


A key element of suicide prevention is ensuring that people at risk for suicide receive the most effective and appropriate care. The Action Alliance is helping to transform suicide care through its Zero Suicide initiative and other efforts addressing workforce training, financing, crisis services, and standard suicide care. (1)

Clinical Workforce

Nurses, social workers, physicians, mental health professionals, school counselors, and other providers routinely care for persons who may be at risk for suicide. And yet many of these providers may lack training on how to support suicide prevention when working with patients or clients. (2)


The financing of suicide-related care is key to the adoption of best practices and recommended minimum standard care. Providers need to be able to seek reimbursement to deliver suicide-related care. Health systems need a better grasp of which practices are reimbursable and through what mechanisms. Health plans need a case for adopting standard care recommendations and tools for promoting their utilization among their providers. (3)

Standard Care

When a person with symptoms of a possible heart attack reaches the emergency room, medical staff know exactly what they need to do to assess this risk and respond. The same is not always true for a person who may be at risk for suicide.

Although we now know what works in suicide prevention and suicide care, much of this knowledge is not being translated into practice at health systems across the country. The Action Alliance is committed to advancing the widespread adoption of these evidence-based practices as the standard care for suicide risk. (4)

Suicide Care in Systems Framework

This report presents the findings and recommendations of the Clinical Care and Intervention Task Force to the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. The Task Force focused its deliberations and recommendations on care in four environments:

  • Emergency Departments and medical-surgical units
  • Primary Care and General Medical Settings
  • Behavioral Health Entities
  • Crisis Services

And, while much of our concept of care lies in traditional face-to-face service delivery between clinicians and patients, the Task Force recognizes and has incorporated the growing use of technology to deliver care (e.g., telephone lines, e-help, texting, blogs, and social networks). (5)

Zero Suicide Program

The foundational belief of Zero Suicide is that suicide deaths for individuals under the care of health and behavioral health systems are preventable. For systems dedicated to improving patient safety, Zero Suicide presents an aspirational challenge and practical framework for system-wide transformation toward safer suicide care. (6)


National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (2018). Health Care. Retrieved from (1)

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (2018). Clinical Workforce. Retrieved from (2)

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (2018). Financing. Retrieved from (3)

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (2018). Standard Care. Retrieved from (4)

Suicide Prevention Resource Center (2019). Suicide Care in Systems Framework. Retrieved from (5)

ZeroSuicide in Health and Behavioral Health Care (2019). About ZeroSuicide. Retrieved from (6)