March 2022
Last year, SPRC conducted its first-ever State and Territorial Suicide Prevention Needs Assessment (SNA) to help identify suicide prevention needs at the state and community levels as they relate to the SPRC Recommendations for State Suicide Prevention Infrastructure (Infrastructure Recommendations).

As a result of the SNA findings, SPRC released the 2021 State and Territorial Needs Assessment Call to Action and Summary of Priority Areas (Call to Action), which identifies four priority areas to strengthen suicide prevention efforts in the United States. This month’s newsletter briefly recaps the first two priorities and offers specific resources that can help you act!
Call to Action – State Infrastructure Priorities
Priority 1: Capacity

SPRC’s SNA revealed significant variation in the types of resources and funding available to support state and territorial suicide prevention activities. A majority of state leaders indicated that inconsistent funding sources inhibited efforts to carry out suicide prevention programming by restricting their abilities to hire, retain, and invest in staff capacity.
Action: To strengthen suicide prevention, funding for staff positions and capacity development must be prioritized.

To help your state act on Priority 1, consider these resources: 
State Suicide Prevention Coordinator Position Descriptions: This packet of position descriptions contains real-life examples from three U.S. states that can be used in full or in part by any state.​

Suicides Decrease as Utah’s Prevention Infrastructure Grows: Doug Thomas discusses the importance of putting suicide prevention leadership in place and how it was done in Utah.

Building State and Local Funding in Colorado: Sarah Brummett describes how Colorado leveraged existing infrastructure and champions to fund state and community efforts.
Success Stories from the Field: “The SPRC recommendations really help operationalize what it is you need to do. We’ve been able to take parts [of the Infrastructure Recommendations] and add them to recommendations our own reports and data to make compelling cases.” — Doug Thomas, Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Director
Priority 2: Partnerships

State leaders also reported that conflicting priorities, competing interests over funding sources, and a lack of overall coordination between key prevention stakeholders limit their state coalitions’ abilities to share data and resources and implement a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention.
Action: To increase reach and strategy implementation necessary to effectively prevent suicide, steps must be taken to formalize partnerships dedicated to suicide prevention and ensure full leadership investment in comprehensive, long-term prevention.

To help your state act on Priority 2, consider these resources:
Getting Started Guide: This guide helps states implement the Infrastructure Recommendations and is specifically structured to help you consider how to effectively engage a diverse group of partners in your efforts.

New Hampshire’s State Plan Implementation Approach: This resource discusses New Hampshire’s implementation of the NH Suicide Prevention Council and discusses how the group is structured to make the most of its charter.

Statewide Partnerships Virtual Learning Lab: This free module offers examples and strategies to help you overcome common challenges experienced in building state-level partnerships with other state agencies and community groups.
Other Tools to Advance Action
Below are some other highly utilized resources that can help you advance your state’s overall suicide prevention infrastructure:
Essential Elements Assessment Tool: Now interactive! This worksheet is intended to help state leaders identify essential elements from the Infrastructure Recommendations that your state currently has in place and/or that are missing from your state’s suicide prevention infrastructure.​

Data Supplement Recommendations: This detailed supplement to Infrastructure Recommendations can help state and local leaders understand the data resources and systems needed to effectively direct suicide prevention efforts.

State Suicide Prevention Plans and Leadership Guidance: This document describes the key elements and characteristics that serve as the underpinning for effective state suicide prevention plans.
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The Suicide Prevention Resource Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), under Grant No. 1H79SM083028-01. The views, opinions, and content expressed in this product do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of CMHS, SAMHSA, or HHS.