The Striving for Zero Suicide Prevention Strategic Planning Learning Collaborative aims to advance local strategic planning and implementation in alignment with strategic aims, goals, and objectives set forth in California’s Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention, Striving for Zero. The Learning Collaborative launched in February 2021 and builds on a previous Learning Collaborative offered by the California Mental Health Services Authority technical assistance team. Implemented by the Your Social Marketer technical assistance team, the Learning Collaborative is guided by the Strategic Planning Approach from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.
For more information, contact us.
Help and Information
If you or someone you know is experiencing an emotional or behavioral health crisis, you are not alone. Please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
To talk to someone in English, call: 1.800.273.8255 (TALK)
To talk to someone in Spanish, call: 1.888.628.9454
Guiding Documents and Reports
Guiding Documents and Reports
The following documents and reports apply what we know works in suicide prevention to practical strategies and approaches that can be employed in local communities.
- Transforming Communities: Key elements for the implementation of comprehensive community-based suicide prevention published by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.
- Preventing Suicide: A technical package of policy, programs, and practices published by the CDC
- Connecting the Dots: An overview of the links among multiple forms of violence published by the CDC
- National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: A Surgeon General’s call to action
Learning Collaborative Modules and Hand-Outs
Framework for Suicide Prevention Strategic Planning and Collaborative Meetings
Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Kick-Off Meeting (May 25, 2021)
The kick-off meeting discussed how the statewide plan can be used to inform local strategic planning efforts, and reviewed the framework for a comprehensive plan for suicide prevention that will guide the work. In addition, several counties who completed a strategic plan for suicide prevention provided a brief review of the process they used to develop their plans including community engagement, writing, challenges, and accomplishments.
Striving for Zero Collaborative Meeting #2 (September 22, 2021)
In this meeting, the Collaborative learned from different county teams about how they developed their strategic plan and how they engaged stakeholders in a meaningful way. In addition, the meeting included information about resource mapping as a way to engage stakeholders and tips for developing a strategic planning timeline.
Striving for Zero Collaborative Meeting #3 (November 17, 2021)
This meeting continued to explore strategic approaches to training with a focus on postvention. Kara Connors, Senior Program Coordinator for Suicide Prevention in Marin County, presented on the development of their strategic plan. Susan Castillo (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Development Manager for the Behavioral Health Division) shared how Sonoma County strategically rolled out QPR throughout their counties and Erika Klohe (Community Behavioral Health Lead, Community Health Investment, Providence, Sonoma County) shared information about an equity-focused approach to interpretation at community events.
Describing the Problem of Suicide Modules (June and July 2021)
Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module #1: Describing the Problem of Suicide Prevention Part 1 – Suicide Deaths and Suicide Attempt Data
Online Module #1 focused on a review of various databases and tools available to describe the problem of suicide in local communities, including suicide deaths and attempts. This module included an overview of several new tools and dashboards available through the MHSOAC, the California Department of Public Health, and the California Violent Death Reporting System. Throughout the module, tips were provided for data storytelling, as well as how to apply safe and effective messaging principles when communicating about suicide.
Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module #2: Describing the Problem of Suicide Prevention Part 2 – Suicide Ideation, Help-Seeking, Protective and Risk Factors
Online Module #2 included a review of various databases and tools available to describe the problem of suicide related to suicide ideation, help-seeking, and risk and protective factors. This module included an overview of fatality death review teams and tips and tools to facilitate data integration across multiple systems and partners. In addition, a step-by-step process to facilitate a suicide prevention strategic planning resource mapping process was reviewed.
Requesting Suicide Data from a County Epidemiologist. This handout outlines considerations and suggestions for drafting requests for suicide-related data from the county epidemiologist or other staff at the county health department. It was adapted from the Suicide Prevention Center’s Making a Data Request.
- Download document here (Updated July 2021).
Describing the Problem of Suicide: A Guide to Accessing Suicide Data. This document provides a description of available suicide data sources, their limitations and their caveats, and links to useful resources, websites, and reports. This guide is not a comprehensive or exhaustive list of data sources available; rather, the resources listed here serve as a starting point for collecting and analyzing suicide data.
- Download document here (Updated October 2021).
Training Modules (October)
Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module #3: Strategic Approaches to Trainings
This module reviewed and applied a selection of theoretical models to aid in understanding how to select trainings as part of a strategic planning process. This included a review of different suicide prevention trainings along the suicidal crisis path framework and how to develop a training plan. Drs. Joyce Chu and Chris Weaver, Clinical Psychologists and Professors at Palo Alto University, presented on suicide prevention trainings that are unique in being infused with culture and diversity.
Responding to Crisis and After a Suicide Attempt Modules (February and April 2022)
Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module #4: Crisis Response (February 16, 2022)
This meeting provided an overview of fundamental and timely questions and considerations for mapping and optimizing your community suicide crisis response continuum, including key questions and considerations regarding representation, alternative resources and models for providing crisis services, and additional resources to support counties in developing and supporting a comprehensive suicide crisis continuum of services and supports. Several guest speakers shared examples of programs or approaches that have been helpful in local suicide prevention efforts, as well as considerations for California counties as the crisis response system changes with 988.
Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module #5: After a Suicide (April 20, 2022)
This meeting provided information about follow-up activities and programs being utilized to support individuals, families, and communities after a suicide attempt. Guest presenters shared tangible examples about a wide range of follow-up programs and supports implemented in their counties to ease the transitions (and mitigate the enhanced risk) following a suicide attempt, and spoke about their experience in incorporating and implementing these efforts through their strategic planning efforts.
Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module: Screening and Assessment (October 12, 2022)
This module provided an overview of the rationale for selection and implementation of screening and assessment tools across community settings and systems of care. Topics addressed were the distinction between screening and assessment, including the range of care providers who can ideally perform these activities across various community settings as well as a spotlight on selected screening and assessment tools. We also viewed an example of successful planning for and implementation of the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) within the Monterey County Behavioral Health Department, including training strategies for the behavioral health workforce. The module concluded with a review of available trainings, a discussion around Safety Planning Intervention (SPI) and next steps after a screening or assessment is conducted. Several guest speakers shared examples of programs or approaches that are being implemented or have been helpful in local suicide prevention efforts; presenters included: Heather Nemour, Coordinator of Student Support Services and Programs Division for the San Diego County Office of Education. Heather provided an overview of SDCOE’s efforts to conduct a needs assessment for school districts participating in this project. Ivan Rodriquez, Program Director for Visalia Youth Services. Ivan presented on Visalia Youth Services’ work implementing the C-SSRS and appropriate training in their organization as well as supports offered to local schools, community-based organizations and first responder agencies.
How We Organize Ourselves for Planning and Implementation
Striving for Zero Collaborative Meeting #4 (January 19, 2022)
Suicide is a complex problem that requires ongoing solutions implemented by many sectors of society. No single agency or sector can solve it alone, but a diverse coalition that is truly representative of the community can ensure that this important issue gets the attention it deserves and can provide ongoing advice and support to existing efforts by local agencies. A suicide prevention coalition can inform a strategic plan, take essential steps to implement the strategy, and monitor progress toward measurable outcomes. This meeting provided an overview of fundamental steps involved in establishing or maintaining a coalition, including: 1) Establishing a purpose, 2) Recruiting the right people, 3) Developing a successful structure, and 4) Maintaining engagement. Several guest speakers shared examples of local suicide prevention coalitions: Fresno County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Mateo County, Tulare County, and Ventura County. In addition, a model for a broad-based community coalition was shared and can be viewed in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFUMu-0ORdA
Striving for Zero Collaborative Meeting #5 (June 15, 2022)
Our Striving for Zero Collaborative meeting continued our discussion around providing follow-up supports and care after a suicide attempt with a focus on crisis response and the role of health care settings. In addition, we discussed available resources to support the strategic and purposeful roll-out of 988 in California communities and learned about the Find Your Anchor program. Vic Ojakian shared about the development, implementation and evaluation of Santa Clara’s Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention.
Striving for Zero Collaborative Meeting (June 7, 2023)
This Striving for Zero Collaborative meeting provided guidelines and examples for public facing community reports, including considerations for messaging, format, audience, data sources and data presentation. Various county teams shared activities that took place during Mental Health Matters Month and/or events and activities planned for Suicide Prevention Week/Month. A discussion focused around how these events and activities advance goals and objectives in local strategic plans for suicide prevention, how outcomes are measures, and what types of activities show the best outcomes in relation to the staff and financial investment that is needed to implement them. In addition, the meeting highlighted strategic planning efforts from Glenn County and Humboldt County.
Striving for Zero Collaborative Meeting: Engaging and Sustaining Coalitions (October 11, 2023)
During this module practical strategies and examples for engaging and sustaining coalitions were shared. Topics included options for coalition structure (e.g. formal, informal, or joining another coalition) and ways to engage coalition members and increase their participation and ownership of coalition activities. Several counties presented examples, including Amador, Glenn, Lake, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Riverside, Santa Cruz, and Tulare. Tips for coalition maintenance and further ideas to promote sustainability were also shared. The Module closed with a brief overview of coalition resources and upcoming modules and meetings.
Strategies for Populations At Disproportionate Risk for Suicide
Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module #6: Older Adults (August 22, 2022)
This module began with an update on the 988 Suicide & Crisis Line from Shari Sinwelski from Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services. The Module then explored strategies to focus suicide prevention efforts based on risk, specifically older people. Data on older adult suicide was presented by Jonah Cox and Zoilyn Gomez from the Office of Suicide Prevention at the California Department of Public Health. The TA Team reviewed key risk and protective factors for late life suicide and provided an overview of focused strategies for older adult suicide prevention. Tanya Bautista and Taishawna Alexander from the California Department of Aging shared programs and resources to support local planning and partnerships, and Mia Grigg described the Friendship Line’s services and supports. We then heard from two counties that have implemented successful strategies for enhancing protective factors and identifying suicide risk and depression for older people. Travis Lyon shared information about the county’s innovative elder outreach program, and Noah Whitaker described Tulare County’s Older Adult Hopelessness Screening Program and their Area Agency on Agency partnership to address the digital divide. The Module closed with a brief overview of the Know the Signs Suicide Prevention Week Activation Kit, which includes specific resources to support upstream suicide prevention for older people.
Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module #11: Understanding LGBTQ+ Youth and Suicide Prevention (September 13, 2023)
During this module guest speaker Dr. Stephen T. Russell provided an overview of the scientific consensus around suicide in LGBTQ+ youth: What we know, and what we still need to know. Dr. Russell walked participants through a developmental understanding of contemporary LGBTQ+ youth and mental health, and why disparities persist despite social change and acceptance. Strategies to create supportive communities, reduce mental health risk, and promote wellbeing were shared that be incorporated into local strategic planning processes. The Module closed with a brief overview various resources and toolkits for national Suicide Prevention Week/Month.
Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module (December 7, 2022)
This module of the Striving for Zero Collaborative focused on Means Safety for Suicide Prevention with an additional focus on prevention efforts for men. The presentation focused on background and principles for means safety and how such efforts can be included in strategic planning and implemented to support prevention efforts. A portion of the presentation included a review of the website, StrivingForSafety.org, which is a tool that counties can use to educate and empower community members and professionals on means safety. In addition, Shasta, Marin and Orange Counties presented on their efforts to raise awareness about suicide prevention among men. Shasta County presented on the “Captain Awesome” campaign and how it has evolved over time including discussion of the use of local male advocates in the promotional efforts. Marin County presented on the “Redefining Strength” which included a review of the campaign elements and a discussion of an event to create space for men and boys to have conversations around mental health. Orange County presented on the “Help is Here” campaign and the steps taken to implement an effective campaign to reach men around mental health and suicide prevention.
Evaluation and Measuring Outcomes
Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module (February 8, 2023 and April 19, 2023)
Our February and April modules reviewed practical strategies to measure outcomes outlined in a strategic plan for suicide prevention. Topics covered key steps to creating a program evaluation plan, logic models, writing objectives, cost benefit studies, and considerations for culture and inclusivity.
February 8, 2023:
April 19, 2023:
Coordinated Community Engagement (Rural Counties)
Suicide Prevention in Rural Communities: An Overview of the Coordinated Community Engagement Model
This webinar provided an overview of the Coordinated Community Engagement Model and outlined an opportunity for California counties to participate in a rural county learning collaborative to apply the model. This cohort assists rural counties in exploring and applying the Coordinated Community Engagement model to advance local suicide prevention efforts from March 2021 through June 2023.
- View slides here.
- Download Creating Suicide Prevention Community Coalitions: A Practical Guide here.
Striving for Zero Rural County Collaborative Meeting #1 (October 8, 2021)
This meeting provided an overview of the rural collaborative’s goals, which include convening a broad-based community coalition with a wide range of community partners. To further explore identifying and engaging non-traditional partners, the meeting led participants in a trivia game where clues prompted thought and discussion about the various roles in suicide prevention that many different members of the community can play. YSM team member and Homeless Initiatives Program Coordinator for Tulare County Health and Human Services, Noah Whitaker, presented on examples of broad-based community coalitions.
Striving for Zero Rural County Collaborative Meeting #2 (April 11, 2022)
This meeting focused on county teams sharing highlights of accomplishments over the last few months. The common themes included maximizing impact by using limited resources more strategically and building or expanding partnerships outside to address common goals. Highlights included innovative outreach strategies to reach older adults and providers, and partnerships with local art collectives and artists around branding and messaging. Also discussed were models of expanding crisis response programs that include mental health and peer providers working closely with law enforcement.
- View a recording of the meeting here.
- There are no slides for this meeting.
This effort builds on a Learning Collaborative and ongoing suicide prevention technical assistance offered by the California Mental Health Services Authority. Past modules included (1) Selecting Interventions, (2) Means Safety, (3) Population-Level Strategies, (4) Reaching High-Risk Populations, (5) Postvention, (6) Building and Maintaining a Coalition, (7) Logic Models and Evaluation, and 8) Messaging. These modules can be accessed here.
Suicide Prevention Strategic Plans in California
Below are Strategic Plans for Suicide Prevention in California counties of which we are aware as of September 2021. Contact us to include your county or task force’s final suicide prevention plan.
- Amador County (not available for public download)
- El Dorado County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan
- Fresno County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan
- Glenn County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan
- Humboldt County Community Health Improvement Plan
- Kern County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan (En Español: Guía para la Prevención del Suicidio para el Condado de Kern)
- Los Angeles County Suicide Prevention Network Strategic Plan
- Marin County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan
- Monterey County Suicide Prevention Roadmap (En Español: Guía para la Prevención del Suicidio para el Condado de Monterey)
- Orange County Community Suicide Prevention Initiative
- Riverside County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan
- San Diego County Suicide Prevention Action Plan
- San Joaquin County Suicide Prevention Plan
- San Luis Obispo Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan
- San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Roadmap 2021-2026
- Santa Clara County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan
- Santa Cruz County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan
- Solano County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan