DENVER – Colorado’s innovative suicide prevention efforts are in the spotlight this week and are featured in the “Preventive Medicine” journal. In a special issue dedicated to National Suicide Prevention Awareness month, the Education Development Center, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the University of Rochester Medical Center released an issue entitled, “The Colorado National Collaborative: A Public Health Approach to Suicide Prevention.”
“Colorado, along with the leadership of local communities and national partners, has embarked on a concerted and coordinated effort to move prevention efforts across the continuum,” Sarah Brummett, director of the Office of the Suicide Prevention at CDPHE, said. “This shows the importance of moving beyond the traditional approach of a just a crisis-response driven system. We must invest in communities to elevate the overall health and well-being of a community to prevent suicide.”
The article highlights local, state, and national collaboration, as well as combined funding streams, have helped the success of the Colorado National Collaborative, a comprehensive approach that combines six evidence-informed components to prevent suicide.
The Office of Suicide Prevention at CDPHE supports a comprehensive, integrated public health collaboration which pushed Colorado to be one of the few states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded in the first round of grants to support a comprehensive suicide prevention plan.
The Colorado National Collaborative is pursuing a real-world test of the public health approach to suicide prevention by helping community coalitions deliver a package of evidence-informed activities in geographically defined community systems.
“For the first time in this country, we are zeroing in on demonstrably high-rate counties and creating tailored programs and interventions for those communities,” said Jerry Reed, senior vice president for practice leadership at EDC. “Therapy and medication aren’t enough to solve this problem. We also have to work with the available data in communities and understand their context, including their risks, needs, and resources.”
The CNC launched with six priority Colorado counties with higher suicide-related indicators such as deaths or attempts. The team identified six core components for the strategic implementation:
- Economic stability and support
- Educational and awareness
- Access to responsive care
- Lethal means safety
The CNC includes data-driven identification of priority populations, community identification of protective factors, and true collaboration between prevention experts at the national, state and local level in implementing a comprehensive approach to prevention.