Suicide Prevention Week 2016

Suicide Prevention Week Toolkit 2016: Know the Signs. Find the Words. Reach Out.

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week is Sept. 5-11, 2016, and World Suicide Prevention Day is Sept. 10. We have developed a toolkit for Suicide Prevention Week with useful materials that can assist you in planning activities and events in your county and community. This year we are encouraging a special focus on older adults and have provided a range of tools including a data briefing, hand-outs, a presentation and a drop-in article to support outreach to this population.

Regardless of what activities you have planned for Suicide Prevention Week, don’t forget to promote resources and where to find help. The National Action Alliance Framework for Successful Messaging is a great starting point for strategizing your suicide prevention messaging. (

Below are some ideas to help stimulate planning for the Week.


The Know the Signs (KTS) campaign is an effective way to promote suicide prevention in your communityRAND findings (released in May 2015) show that the Know the Signs campaign has been effective in reaching its goals and that the public dollars have been well spent. This may serve to encourage others to use the materials as a cost-effective best practice.


Participate in the Suicide Prevention Week Email Campaign and encourage staff, providers and community partners to know the signs, find the words and reach out within their own networks.

  • A flyer to promote Suicide Prevention Week and daily challenges. The flyer is provided as a print ready pdf file and a word version that you can customize.
  • Daily emails to share with your networks on each day of the week (Tuesday- Saturday). These can be customized with your logo and local information.


Focus on Older Adults- Share these activities, resources and tools to with your Older Adult Partners and Providers

Data tells us that middle-aged and older adults die by suicide at higher rates and in larger numbers than youth. Some risk factors increase with age, including social isolation and compromised mobility. Medical fragility means that a suicide attempt is more likely to be lethal. Symptoms of depression can often be mistaken for “normal” signs of aging. Finally, older adults also may have access to highly lethal means, including firearms and medications.


Other activities you might consider:

  • Offer any planned suicide prevention trainings specifically for providers and organizations working with older adults.
  • Many older adults see their primary care providers more frequently than when they were younger. Frequent healthcare contact provides more opportunity for screening, assessment and treatment. Healthcare can also address non-mental health issues that may increase suicide risk. Host at least one training for primary care providers using the Primary Care Training Resource Guide.
  • Partner with a local pharmacy and offer to print their next supply of pharmacy bags using one of the Know the Signs pharmacy bags
  • Share information about these trainings:


Invite Young People to Play a Role in Suicide Prevention

The Directing Change Program & Film Contest encourages young people ages 14-25 to create 60-second films about suicide prevention and mental health. Host a local screening, encourage young people to submit a film to the contest, or host a local screening, or ask your local movie theater to show a film.


Active Minds Suicide Prevention Month 2016 is encouraging supporters to highlight the reasons they speak up about mental health and suicide prevention by using the hashtag #ReasonsISpeak and cumulating in Active Minds National Day Without Stigma on October 3, 2016. A cornerstone of Active Minds Suicide Prevention Month is their blog series, which features the stories of suicide attempt survivors and survivors of suicide. For blogs, social media events and Twitter chats visit


Good luck with you plans! For any questions or support with this toolkit please email: [email protected]


And a final note- as your plans for Suicide Prevention Week develop add them to the Each Mind Matters (EMM) events page, especially if the events are open to the public and/or you would like others in your county and state to know about them.