Nearly 46,000 people in the U.S. died by suicide in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-14 and 25-34.
“Suicide is a serious public health issue in this country, said Jessie Cannon, vice president of Community Relations at Cardinal Health. “The U.S. has one of the highest suicide rates among all developed countries.
“Many of those who die by suicide have had contact with a healthcare provider within months or even weeks of their death. Because we fundamentally believe that suicides for those in the care of health and behavioral health systems are preventable, we have partnered with the Zero Suicide Institute at the Education Development Center to create our Zero Suicide Collaborative.”
The Zero Suicide Institute uses a practical framework for transforming health systems to prevent suicidal individuals from falling through the cracks. Since 2020, 17 hospitals have participated in the Collaborative. Each hospital received funding from the Cardinal Health Foundation and training and expert consultation from the Zero Suicide Institute to build a preventative system within their hospital.
As shown in the infographic on this page, the participating hospitals have collectively touched more than 1.4 million patients. More than 90% of the hospitals have provided suicide risk screening – considered key to suicide prevention in patient care settings – and 100% have created policies or protocols for suicide risk screening and assessment.
Late last year, the Foundation launched its Preventing Youth Suicide Collaborative, engaging the national Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) as a long-term partner and continuing its work with the Zero Suicide Institute. This program is the first national collaborative working to develop a pediatric-specific, data-driven approach to improve the identification and care of children at risk for suicide in children’s hospitals and health systems. Over the course of the next three years, in partnership with the CHA, the Foundation expects to engage 40 pediatric institutions across the country in this work.
Editor’s note: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support. Access the helpline at 1-800-273-8255.