The application for Suicide-Safer Community Designation is based on two documents:

  • A Letter of Intent submitted online, and
  • A Suicide-Safer Community Designation Application completed in detail.  

While the application process will require a lead person or committee to pull the information together, it is expected that there will be many authors/contributors to the 10 pillars. The application must be comprehensive and clearly outline the community's efforts, programs, services and initiatives in each of the 10 pillars.

There is a 150 page limit to the application and it should be completed in English, double-spaced in at least 12pt font. The application should be signed and dated by all of the parties involved in its completion. The appendices should include: the names and contact details of each of the leadership committee members and any annual reports, letters of support, photographs, and any other supporting documentation. Please note: In order for the application to be considered, thorough documentation in all 10 pillars is necessary.

The designation is good for 5 years, after which time an application for renewal providing updates on continued progress toward each of the 10 pillars can be submitted.

Pillars for Building a Suicide-Safer Community

The ten (10) pillars provide a structure for reviewing actions and accomplishments in achieving a suicide-safer community designation:

  1. Leadership/Steering Committee
  2. Community Needs Assessment and Action Plan
  3. Mental Health and Wellness Promotion
  4. Suicide Prevention Awareness
  5. Training
  6. Suicide Intervention Services
  7. Clinical and Support Services
  8. Suicide Bereavement
  9. Evaluation and Dissemination
  10. Capacity Building and Sustainability

1. Leadership/Steering Committee
A leadership/steering committee guides the community’s goals and implementation of a local, regional, national, or international strategy/framework/declaration indicating that suicide is a serious public health problem. The committee shall include key leaders representing the diversity of the community in addressing the other 9 pillars. Multi-sectoral membership includes key community stakeholders and representatives relevant to various demographics and areas of interest (i.e.: first responders, justice system, healthcare, education, policy makers, public and private sectors, faith communities, lived experience, media, etc).

  • List key author(s) of this pillar with name, organization, role(s)
  • List key stakeholders
    —Affiliation(s) and specific role(s) on the committee
    —Indicate decision making power of the members in turning strategy into activity
  • Clearly state any guiding principles/core values/framework of this committee
    —How did the leadership reflected/incorporated the above core values
  • Describe steps in place to ensure accountability, transparency and sustainability
  • Describe leadership committee effectiveness in guiding and implementing the overall initiative.
    —Indicate leadership/guidance provided by this group during the implementation process
  • Indicate relationships created and strengthened between private and public organizations/businesses
    —Describe how these relationships are crucial to the implementation of your suicide-safer community
    —Describe how these relationships are crucial to the sustainability of your suicide-safer community
    —Describe how these relationships/partnerships have been strengthened
    —Describe areas for improvement

2. Community Needs Assessment and Action Plan
A data-informed summary of the scope of the problem of suicide within the community which led to the need for establishing a strategy/action plan. In addition, describe the Action Plan including clearly identified goals, objectives and targets tailored to address the identified community needs. 

  • List key author(s) of this pillar with name, organization, role(s)
  • Describe the unique needs of this community and the incidence/prevalence of suicide
    What precipitated the need for the Action Plan
    Initial funding resources supporting the launch of the initiative
    Explain the initial activities to launch the initiative
    Indicate the time frame the community has engaged in these activitiesProvide the comprehensive Action Plan with established priorities and timelines
  • Provide the comprehensive Action Plan with established priorities and timelines
    Incorporate how the Action Plan reflects the local, regional, national or international strategy aims and/or goals
    State Goals, Objectives and Targets that were addressed
    Explain how the Action Plan reflects the needs and resources of the community
  • List the organizations/businesses/individuals that have formally committed to participate in achieving and sustaining a suicide-safer community
    State their role and length of commitment
    Include letters of commitment from organizations/businesses/individuals where possible

3. Mental Health and Wellness Promotion
Mental health promotion is defined by the World Health Organization as the creation of living conditions and environments that support mental health and allow people to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles.

  • List key author(s) of this pillar with name, organization, role(s)
  • List organizations/entities leading, implementing and managing the goals and activities
  • Describe the community with respect to mental health and wellness promotion activities at the onset of the initiative
  • Describe the comprehensive plan used to inform, educate or increase awareness in the community about mental health and wellness
    How these activities are aligned with the local or national strategy
    Any advocacy initiatives, groups developed or supported
    Any collaborative efforts
  • Describe how the impact and effectiveness of these activities has been evaluated
    Changes or improvements since the implementation of these promotion activities
    How have these initiatives contributed to suicide prevention and reduction

4. Suicide Prevention Awareness 
Suicide Prevention Awareness includes primary prevention education and awareness campaigns/activities with a demonstrated impact on raising public awareness, improving community attitudes, and increasing public dialogue on suicide.  

  • List key author(s) of this pillar with name, organization, role(s)
  • List organizations/entities leading, implementing and managing the goals and activities  
  • Describe the activities
    How were they implemented
    Include any campaigns/pledges that were created/promoted
    Provide details indicating time limited (one event or specific time frame) or ongoing
  • Describe the target audience(s) and how public messaging materials and sites were used to reach them
  • List the policies/standards/guidelines in place to address the strategy, safety and positive narrative elements that were used
  • Measures of progress

    Impact of these campaigns along with how baselines were gathered and impact was measured
    What has changed and improved since implementing these awareness activities
    Identify the gaps in the strategic plan related to awareness activities and how they will continue to be addressed 

5. Training
Training is defined as the intent to increase awareness of individual and community norms and attitudes which impact the ability to intervene and support those with suicidal experiences. Training should also address the development of skills, knowledge, and competencies of community members, laypersons, and professionals in the areas of suicide: prevention, intervention, post-intervention, and postvention.

  • List key author(s) of this pillar with name, organization, role(s)
  • List organizations/entities leading, implementing and managing the goals and activities
  • Describe the suicide prevention and intervention training in place your community (Baseline)
  • Describe the extent of the training implemented and in what areas of service provision
    List trainings that were implemented
    Indicate how each was chosen
    Indicate how quality assurance supports training fidelity
    Describe layered connections between programs
    Demographics, service industries, and professions trained
    Accessibility of training to those targeted
  • Describe activities to ensure staff providing direct services, in both clinical and non-clinical roles, received suicide intervention and/or post-intervention training appropriate with their role
    Levels of training in place or plans to implement training to cover specific community needs (awareness, prevention, intervention, long term care)
  • Outline plans to sustain on-going training capacity
  • Describe the evaluation measures used to determine impact and effectiveness related to the Action Plan
    Outcome of any assessments of staff knowledge, practice and confidence in providing care
    Impact the training had on increasing the identification, assessment and interventions with people at risk of suicide
    Impact the training activities had on working longer term with persons who have had suicide experiences and are currently safe
    Impact training has had on community collaborations and organizational policies over time
    Gaps or areas for improvement
     

6. Suicide Intervention Services
Suicide intervention services provide early or immediate response to those individuals experiencing suicide with the intended service outcome of safety. Effective suicide intervention services provide a range of options depending on the severity of the situation, use evidence-based programs and processes, align with other suicide prevention efforts, create internal and external organizational linkages for collaboration and continuity of care, and incorporate data-gathering tools for measurable outcomes.

  • List key author(s) of this pillar with name, organization, role(s)
  • List organizations/entities leading, implementing and managing the goals and activities
  • Describe the services in place which promote and address suicide intervention and safety
    Crisis Services for suicide intervention
         —24/7 Crisis Line/Chat/Text
         —First responders (i.e. police, EMS, fire fighters, rangers)
         —Emergency departments
         —Mobile crisis teams
  • Describe how evidence-based intervention services are aligned with local, regional, national, or international strategy/framework/declaration
    Policies and procedures adopted and implemented around suicide intervention
  • Describe the involvement of lay community members providing suicide intervention
  • Describe the efforts to develop linkages and strengthen relationships across intervention  services to improve continuity of care
  • Describe the follow up services to individuals who received emergency/crisis response for suicide experiences
  • Describe measurable outcomes along with tools used to gather data
    —System-wide approach to improving outcomes and closing gaps in intervention services
    —Impact of the Action Plan activities with respect to the suicide intervention

7. Clinical and Support Services
Collaborations and partnerships of the clinical and support services created and sustained to ensure greater access to services along the continuum of awareness, prevention, intervention, post-intervention and postvention.

  • List key author(s) of this pillar with name, organization, role(s)
  • List organizations/entities leading, implementing and managing the goals and activities
  • Describe how these services are aligned with any local, regional, or national strategies
    The impact of the Action Plan activities with respect to the clinical and support services
  • Describe the evidence-based services in place to reduce suicide and improve care for those seeking help
    How these services promote hope, recovery and growth for the individual
    Efforts to develop linkages and strengthen relationships across these services that will help improve continuity of care
  • Describe the procedures to ensure services provide an individualized pathway to care
    Service accessibility
    Services in place that promote and address suicide care in person and virtually
    How services are provided in a timely and adequate fashion
    Procedures/trainings to ensure collaborative safety planning, safe and effective interventions and clinical support
    Financial barriers addressed
  • Describe the measures in place to ensure the safety and support of clinical staff
  • Describe peer support services/programs
    How services promote hope, recovery and growth
    How services are aligned with any local, regional, or national strategies
    Impact of the Action Plan activities
  • Outline the role/involvement of those with lived experience
  • Describe measurable outcomes along with tools used to gather data
    System-wide approach to improving outcomes and closing gaps in services

8. Suicide Bereavement
Resources and supports available to people bereaved and affected by suicide.

  • List key author(s) of this pillar with name, organization, role(s)
  • List organizations/entities leading, implementing and managing the goals and activities
  • Describe postvention strategies for bereaved families and friends of those who have died by suicide
    Individual support/treatment options in place
    Group/Peer supports
    Describe how were these programs/models chosen
  • Indicate collaborations and partnerships with law enforcement/coroners/hospitals, etc.
  • Describe criteria for identifying how to support those who have been bereaved by suicide to transition to advocacy following their healing process
  • Describe postvention activities for clinicians who have lost a patient/client to suicide
  • Describe how these efforts are aligned with any local, regional or national strategies
    Describe what has changed or improved with respect to these efforts
  • Describe measures to ensure the effectiveness of these resources and supports
    Describe any gaps and how they will be addressed moving forward

9. Evaluation and Dissemination
Data collection, evaluation, systems to track progress and sharing of findings with relevant audiences in a timely, unbiased, consistent manner for each of the services provided across all of the pillars.

  • List key author(s) of this pillar with name, organization, role(s)
  • List organizations/entities leading, implementing and managing the goals and activities
  • Describe the measures in place to ensure fidelity of implementation of programs and services
  • Describe the measures in place to track progress toward goal attainment
    Tools/systems for data gathering and feedback
    Metrics used to track activities
    Measures in place to ensure reliability of the instruments/tools used to collect data
  • Describe how you have been able to measure the reduction of suicide behaviors or suicides
  • Describe how the lessons learned have been shared with others
  • Include any technical reports and peer reviewed articles generated from this activity

10. Capacity Building/Sustainability 

Community capacity is defined as “the combined influence of a community’s commitment, resources, and skills that can be deployed to build on community strengths and address community problems.” 1  Sustainability occurs when the formal and informal processes, systems, structures, and relationships actively support the capacity to create suicide safer communities. This pillar includes demonstrated capacity and ability to implement, manage, and sustain efforts and programs related to the other 9 pillars.

  • List key author(s) of this pillar with name, organization, role(s)
  • List organizations/entities leading, implementing and managing the goals and activities
  • Describe the current landscape with respect to the other 9 Pillars
    Describe the impact of implementing the activities of the Action Plan
  • Describe the process used to build capacity
    List the funding sources that have contributed the implemented activities
    List the funding resources that have committed to future sustainability of the initiative
  • Indicate the activities which are highest priority to continue and why
    Describe how these activities are aligned with the local, regional, national or international strategies for suicide prevention
  • Describe the private and public relationships have been developed to ensure sustainability
  • Describe any legislation/policy created or enhanced based on the work of this group
  • Describe activities to continue capacity building
  • Describe any gaps and areas for improvement
  • Include an action plan for moving forward

1. Adapted from Building Community Capacity: The Potential of Community Foundations, by Steven E. Mayer. Published by Rainbow Research, Inc., 1995

Summary

  • List key author(s) of this summary with name, organization, role(s)
  • Summarize the inter-connectedness of the Action Plan and the Pillars
    Include a summary of how the activities in all pillars contribute to a suicide-safer community
  • Discuss the accomplishments and barriers to implementation along with solutions used to address the barriers
  • Describe the progress, identify any strengthened collaboration/changed behaviors/ or new commitments
  • Describe the expected impact for this community upon receiving a Suicide-Safer Community designation
  • Share how the Suicide-Safer Communities application process has impacted your collaborations and planning for capacity building and sustainability

Additional Reading