Strategies for Suicide Prevention

The Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Plan includes the four strategic areas below that, taken together, make up a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention. The full plan is presented in Part 3 of this report.


Strategy 1: Increase and Enhance Protective Factors

1A Implement strategies that reduce the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and promote social-emotional development in children.

1B Promote healthy communities by increasing social connectedness in multiple settings, including schools, workplaces, and community, faith-based, cultural, and social organizations.

1C Support efforts, including safe storage of medications and firearms, to reduce access to lethal means by people who are at acute risk of suicide.

Strategy 2: Increase Access to Care for At-Risk Populations

2A Expand access to services for mental health and substance use treatment, as well as for physical health care.

2B Support innovative ways to expand access to care, including technologies and peer-led or other non-clinical support services.

2C Increase the public’s knowledge of risk factors for suicide, recognition of warning signs in individuals, and preparedness to support and respond to those individuals.

Strategy 3: Implement Best Practices for Prevention in Health Care Systems

3A Promote a systematic “Zero Suicide”1 approach, rooted in the understanding that suicide is preventable in people receiving treatment services.

3B Expand the use of evidence-based screening, assessment, and suicide-specific treatments for those at risk.

3C Improve care transitions for people with suicidal thoughts and behaviors who are discharged from emergency departments or inpatient settings.

Strategy 4: Improve Surveillance of Suicide and Evaluation of Prevention Programs

4A Use Wisconsin data to describe the impact of suicidal thoughts, attempts, and deaths and expand data linkages to further the understanding of suicide.

4B Work in collaboration with existing organizations to standardize and enhance capacity for investigating and reporting suicide deaths.

4C Improve and expand evaluation of suicide prevention programs.


1. The Zero Suicide framework is a system wide, organizational commitment to safer suicide care in health and behavioral health systems. The Zero Suicide Toolkit is available on the Suicide Prevention Resource Center website at