More than 49,000 people in the United States died by suicide in 2022, which amounts to one death every 11 minutes. In light of this, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking to prioritize suicide prevention and recently released a national, 10-year strategy, outlining recommendations. The plan is guided by four strategic directions: to establish community-based suicide prevention strategies, implement effective treatment and crisis services, improve quality improvement and research, and incorporate health equity into all initiatives. In addition, it is accompanied by the first-ever Federal Action Plan, which identifies 200 discrete actions to be initiated and evaluated over the next three years.

Goals and Aims

The new federal action plan’s key initiatives are to identify methods to address both substance use and suicide risk within clinical environments, fund a mobile crisis locator for 988 crisis centers, enhance support for survivors of suicide loss and individuals affected by suicide, and evaluate community-based suicide prevention strategies. The strategy seeks coordination and cooperation at various levels—national, state, and local—leveraging essential partnerships between the public and private sectors.

For the first time, the national suicide strategy is prioritizing health equity; the COVID-19 pandemic exposed a range of inequities, including those related to access to social supports and health care resources. The acknowledgment of suicide prevention as a core component of health care reflects a shift towards a more holistic understanding of health, one that encompasses mental well-being alongside physical health.

AHPA extends our gratitude to Kevin Lopez, guest author of this article.
Kevin is a graduate student in the Master of Healthcare Administration program at Loma Linda University