Suicide prevention is a collaboration of evidence based or evidence informed efforts to reduce the risk of suicide. These can occur at the individual, group, community, and even societal level.

Effective suicide prevention work must also be racially and culturally relevant, time appropriate, and attached to a follow-up strategy in some meaningful way.

In addition to specific interventions to stop an impending suicide, methods can include:

  • treating mental challenges
  • improving individual coping strategies of people who are at risk
  • reducing risk factors for suicide, increasing protective factors for suicide
  • promoting hope for a better life after current problems are resolved

Suicide prevention programs and interventions generally require a multi-faceted approach to prevent suicide attempts and suicide deaths.

While not every suicide attempt results in death, a suicide attempt is a risk for future suicide death. A suicide attempt is an attempt to die by suicide resulting in survival.


In 1958, the first suicide prevention center in the United States opened in Los Angeles, California, with funding from the U.S. Public Health Service. Other crisis intervention centers followed. In 1966, the Center for Studies of Suicide Prevention (later the Suicide Research Unit) was established at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This was followed by the creation of national nonprofit organizations dedicated to the cause of suicide prevention. 

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