"Upstream, Midstream, Downstream”
Recommendations for Effective Suicide Prevention
“Bake it in, don’t bolt it on.” - D. Covington, Executive Committee Member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, on the importance of integrating suicide prevention strategies into existing culture and strengths of organizations.
Prevent Problems from
Happening in the First Place
Shift Workplace Cultural Perspective:
Make mental health and suicide prevention
health and safety priorities. Leadership must
model this, clearly communicate benefits
and answer questions for concern.
Regularly promote mental health practices
and a range of resources – e.g., new
employee orientation, benefits renewal,
Develop Life Skills: Offer training in
conflict resolution, stress management,
communication skills, financial planning,
goal setting, parenting or other skills-based
programs for employees.
Improve Mental Health and Addiction
Knowledge: Deliver regular toolbox talks
and awareness communication on mental
health topics and how to improve wellness.
Consistently link mental health with
wellness and safety programs.
Promote Social Networks: Create a
healthy community and foster genuine
Identify Problems Early
and Connect People to Help
Identify People at Risk: Detect early
symptoms for depression, anxiety,
substance abuse and anger.
Promote Help-Seeking: Promote
resources like the National Suicide
Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255),
provide peer assistance training and
normalize help-seeking behavior.
Increase Access to Quality Care: Provide
affordable mental health services wellversed
in state-of-the-art suicide risk
assessment, management and support
and a range of effective treatment options.
Safe and Compassionate Responses
to Mental Health Crises
Promote Worker Use of Mental Health
Services: When workers are struggling,
supervisors can take the lead in connecting
employees to immediate mental health and
Restrict Access to Potentially Lethal
Means: When potential for suicide is high,
remove access to guns, pills and other
means of suicide.
Provide Support after Suicide: Follow
crisis management procedures and
longer-term support in the aftermath of
a suicide as outlined in “A Managers
Guide to Suicide Postvention in the
Workplace” [available as free PDF at www.