Zero Suicide

Embedded in a system-wide, quality improvement approach

The SafeSide Approach to Zero Suicide

If you’re familiar with the concept of “zero suicide,” you’ll immediately see how the SafeSide Framework and SafeSide’s video-based training supports a culture of suicide safer care and services.

The SafeSide Framework provides a single organizing structure that combines guidance for the key tasks of identifying, engaging, treating, and transitioning people at risk of suicide. The consistent structure and common language support system-wide change with the aspirational goal of reducing suicides to zero.

"Using the SafeSide Framework as a guide will establish best practices for supporting people at risk of suicide, whatever your setting or role."

Tony Pisani, Ph.D.


Q: Our organization is implementing a Zero Suicide approach. Will SafeSide training meet our needs?

A: Yes, SafeSide is a framework for consistent patient-centered suicide care that establishes a common language and process for clinicians and staff. For organizations implementing a Zero Suicide approach, the SafeSide framework and InPlace® Learning model will fulfill their need to build a competent, caring workforce.


What is “zero suicide?”

A Zero Suicide approach calls for the transformation of health, behavioral health, and community organizations so that suicide prevention is considered a core responsibility and priority.

Zero suicide entails taking a systems approach to care, where leaders and consumer design services with the needs of individuals at risk for suicide in mind.

Training of the clinical workforce in current best practices is key to any Zero Suicide initiative.


Q: What if we aren’t involved with Zero Suicide but still want to train our clinicians and staff in providing evidence-based care? Is SafeSide the right training for us?

A: Yes, any organization can work with us to offer training in the SafeSide Framework. Even if your organization has not adopted a “zero suicide” approach, the Framework offers a consistent, overarching framework for assessing, formulating, communicating, and responding to suicide risk. Both the Framework and our InPlace℠ Learning model are informed by the latest research on suicide care and can stand alone to prepare and inspire staff.


Creating a Zero Suicide Vision

The 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention calls for “the adoption of ‘zero suicides’ as an aspirational goal by health care and community support systems.”

Two SafeSide team members were involved in efforts to provide training and technical assistance to organizations implementing zero suicide efforts. Tony Pisani was a faculty member of the Zero Suicide Institute and supported efforts to embed risk formulation in a network of inpatient psychiatric hospitals. Laurie Davidson helped to developed the Zero Suicide toolkit while at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.


Q: We’re right at the beginning of exploring what it would take to implement a program that would have the goal of reducing suicides to zero, although we haven’t decided whether to call it “Zero Suicide.” Besides training, can you help us with overall implementation?

A: Yes, we’ve worked with organizations on early exploration, planning, implementing, and sustaining system-wide suicide safer care. These collaborations have helped us to identify practice and process gaps and make process and documentation changes, including EMR changes. As a result, we have a growing library of planning, implementation, and measurement resources to support your effort. One approach is to use the SafeSide Framework and preparation for launching the training to drive process improvement and outcomes measurement.

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Step 3.

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