Join us in September in recognition of
As we look to September’s Suicide Prevention Month (#SPM23) and Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 10-16), the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance)—the nation’s public-private partnership working to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention—hopes to once again unite the field to amplify messages about the significant role we all play in being there for others. It is important that our field continues working together to develop and promote consistent messages of hope and help-seeking. 
As we've done in years' past, the Action Alliance will send e-blasts in the coming months to help equip our partners with the necessary resources and tools to plan for and participate in this important national conversation in September and beyond. 
The majority of adults (94%) in the U.S. believe that suicide can be prevented at least some of the time, and 96% of adults in the U.S. would take action if someone close to them was thinking about suicide, according to a national poll released by the Action Alliance and partners in 2022. It is important to equip people with the tools and resources needed to feel empowered to have conversations about mental health and suicide prevention and build positive social connections. When we take action to build connectedness and #BeThere for others, hope becomes a reality
We encourage you to use #BeThere messaging in September and beyond, to ensure the public is informed about the actions they can take to help those in their life who may be in crisis. 
Resources from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)
This September, SPRC invites you to take action to prevent suicide in your community. To learn about effective suicide prevention and how to center lived experience, spread the word about the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, and be there for those who are struggling, check out SPRC's updated annual resource.
Developing Effective and Safe Messaging
for Suicide Prevention Month
How we publicly communicate about suicide can have either negative or positive impacts on help-seeking behaviors. Research has found that certain types of public messaging about suicide can increase risk among vulnerable individuals. However, communications can also be a powerful tool to promote resiliency, encourage help-seeking, and highlight effective prevention efforts. 

The Action Alliance's Framework for Successful Messaging outlines the key components to consider when messaging to the public about suicide, including identifying a strategy, ensuring safety, conveying a positive narrative, and following applicable guidelines. 
Use upfront thinking and planning to help messages succeed and resonate with people. Best practices include: 
  • Consider the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your message (e.g., who is my audience? What is my goal?). 
  • Do not start with a particular channel or message in mind. 
  • “Communicate for action” (e.g., include action steps your audience can take after receiving your message). 
Avoid potentially harmful messages and content. Best practices include: 
  • Keep safety in mind as you screen content before sharing it. 
  • Be mindful of safety when sharing stories about individual suicide attempts or deaths. 
  • Accurately convey suicide as a complex issue with no single cause (e.g., avoid messaging that implies there was a single cause, like bullying or PTSD, behind a suicide). 
  • Highlight solutions, rather than problems. 
  • Make sure data, if used, are strategic, safe, and prevention-focused (e.g., the number of people who sought help, or the number of people who reached out to support someone). 
  • Use non-stigmatizing language (e.g., died by suicide instead of committed suicide).
Increase the frequency of public messaging that promotes the positive aspects of suicide prevention. Best practices include: 
  • Highlight actions that people can take to help prevent suicide (e.g., how people can #BeThere for someone who is struggling). 
  • Reinforce that prevention works and convey that resiliency is possible. 
  • Effective programs and services exist, and help is available
  • Avoid reinforcing negative stereotypes or misconceptions (e.g., avoid messages that focus on stigma, and instead share messages of hope, help-seeking, and resiliency). 
Follow best practice guidelines for a variety of channels, settings, populations, and topics, which can be found here

As you continue planning for Suicide Prevention Month (#SPM23) this September, utilize the Framework for Successful Messaging to ensure your messaging aligns with these evidence-based best practices and promotes hope and help-seeking. 
Developing Messages About the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

In July 2022, our country entered a new era of crisis services, marked by the adoption of 988 as the new easy to remember three-digit dialing code for anyone experiencing a suicidal or mental health crisis. The implementation of 988 is an exciting development for the nation broadly, and for the suicide prevention field, and is understandably the topic of considerable attention and public communications. Given the critical, lifesaving nature of 988, it is essential that these public communications are accurate, effective, and safe.  

To help achieve this, the Action Alliance encourages partners to continue to use the 988 Messaging Framework as you are planning for and developing your 988-related messages. In addition, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) developed a 988 Partner Toolkit to equip the field with key messages, answers to frequently asked questions, branding guidelines, etc. 
The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance) is the public-private partnership working to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and make suicide prevention a national priority. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), through the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) grant, provides funding to Education Development Center (EDC) to operate and manage the Secretariat for the Action Alliance, which was launched in 2010.