New Effort in Suicide Prevention Announced

By Rev. Barbara F. Meyers 

I have learned of a new effort in suicide prevention that needs to become well-known.  It is called Project 2025 and is a nationwide initiative to reduce the annual rate of suicide in the U.S. 20 percent by 2025.  The organization sponsoring it is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

This is the most comprehensive, multi-organizational approach to suicide prevention I have seen.  And, I applaud their efforts.

Here is some of their material explaining Project 2025:

Despite the fact that more is being done today to prevent suicide than at any other time in history, the rate of suicide continues to rise in the United States. Led by the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, with guidance from the top minds in the field and dynamic data modeling, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has determined the programs, policies and interventions that will prevent as many suicides as possible. Project 2025 is the collaborative effort to implement and scale these strategies nationwide.  

Four critical areas have been identified to save the most lives in the shortest amount of time:

  1. Firearms: More than half of all gun deaths in the United States are by firearm.  By working with key partners, we can educate the range, retail, and broader firearms-owning communities on how to spot suicide risk, and know what steps they can take to save lives.  If half the people who purchase firearms are exposed to suicide prevention education, we can expect an estimated 9,500 lives saved through 2025.
  2. Healthcare Systems: Project 2025 is collaborating with the country’s largest healthcare systems and accrediting organizations to accelerate the acceptance and adoption of risk identification and suicide prevention strategies we know work.  By identifying one out of every five at-risk people in large healthcare systems – such as during primary care and behavioral health visits – and providing them with short-term intervention and better follow-up care, we can expect an estimated 9,200 lives saved through 2025.
  3. Emergency Departments: Basic screening and interventions can provide a safety net for at-risk patients seen in emergency departments.  Project 2025 is educating emergency medicine providers, and collaborating with key accrediting and professional organizations to improve the acceptance and adoption of suicide screening and preventative intervention as the standard in emergency care.  By screening one out of five people seen in ERs, and providing short-term interventions such as Safety Planning and follow-up care, we can expect an estimated 1,100 lives saved through 2025.
  4. Corrections Systems: We need to change the culture of suicide prevention in our country’s jails and prisons.  By screening for and identifying 50% of at-risk individuals at key points within the corrections system, such as at times of entry and exit, and delivering comprehensive care that addresses both physical and mental health, we can expect an estimated 1,100 lives saved through 2025.

 By partnering with organizations in these four areas, we CAN achieve our goal of reducing the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025 making it the lowest it’s been in 30 years.