Strategic Planning Learning Collaborative: Modules and Resources

Striving for Zero Suicide Prevention

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.

Striving for Zero: California’s Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention 2020–2025 was adopted in November 2019 and can be viewed or downloaded in English and Spanish.

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

Or click here to chat online.

For information about suicide prevention, visit or

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.

Striving for Zero In-Person Convening

Striving for Zero In-Person Convening (February 28 – March 1, 2024)

Approximately 140 people from around the state attended an in-person convening in Carlsbad, California that represented the culmination and celebration of the Striving for Zero Suicide Prevention Learning Collaborative. The convening included national and California-based guest speakers as well as in-depth sessions where counties shared their successes and challenges within different topic areas. The goal of the convening was to build momentum for the sustainability of local suicide prevention efforts and to solidify the community of practice that has been built over the past few years among counties engaged in strategic planning and implementation around suicide prevention.

  • View the program for the convening here.

February 28, 2024

Opening Session: Responding to Crisis

This session included a refresher on Crisis Coping Theory (Noah Whitaker, Striving for Zero TA Team), information and updates on the California 988 Suicide & Crisis Line Network (Matt Taylor, Didi Hirsch), and introductions from panelists (Andrea Tolaio, Suicide Prevention Service of the Central Coast; Cheryl Karp Eskin, Teen Line; Dr. Jenn Carson, Inland SoCal Crisis Helpline).

February 29, 2024

Striving for Zero: National, Statewide, and Local Perspectives

This session included guest speakers sharing information about national and statewide suicide prevention initiatives that can support local efforts and milestones from the Striving for Zero Suicide Prevention Learning Collaborative.

Keynote Presentation: Pebbles of Wisdom, Jerry Reed Ph.D., MSW

This presentation provided a brief historical overview of national suicide prevention efforts and lessons learned from successes and challenges.

Overview of Statewide Initiatives aligned with strategic aims in Striving for Zero: California’s Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan, Courtney Ackerman, M.A., Senior Researcher and Kali Patterson, M.A., Senior Research Supervisor, California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission;

Renay Bradley, Ph.D., Chief of the Epidemiology, Surveillance, and Evaluation Section within the Injury and Violence Prevention Branch at the California Department of Public Health

Milestones from the Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative, Jana Sczersputowski, M.P.H., President, Your Social Marketer and Striving for Zero TA Team

Strengthening and Sustaining Partnerships, Noah Whitaker, Striving for Zero TA Team

Through an interactive game of Jeopardy, participants explored and discussed building and sustaining coalitions and engaging a broad range of partners to promote sustainability.

Putting Planning into Practice: Lessons from the Field Part 2

This session began with a series of brief talks from members of the Striving for Zero TA Team on the selected topics (Crisis Response, Means Safety, Infusing Culture and Diversity, Comprehensive Training Plans, Suicide Fatality Review Teams, and Postvention) followed by facilitated breakout group discussions for each.

March 1, 2024

Infusing Culture into Data and Outcome Measurement, Dr. Joyce Chu, Ph.D., Striving for Zero TA Team

This session addressed ways to infuse culture and diversity throughout data and program evaluation aspects of suicide prevention strategic plans, as a critical foundation for culturally responsive suicide prevention work.

A Deep Dive into Accessing and Communicating Data, Nicolle Perras, M.P.H., M.A., L.M.F.T., Striving for Zero TA Team; Melanie Schindell, M.P.P.A, Research Scientist, California Department of Public Health

This session provided an overview of public dash boards for accessing suicide data for local planning purposes and offered hands-on tutorials and support.

Downstream Suicide Prevention: Implementing Best Practices in Culturally Responsive Suicide Clinical Care, Dr. Joyce Chu, Ph.D., Striving for Zero TA Team

This session discussed how counties can create sustainable suicide safety nets within their clinical systems through systematic organizational work and the use of best practices.

Striving for Zero Excellence Awards

The Striving for Zero Excellence Awards was an opportunity to “show and tell” about a local effort that can serve as inspiration for colleagues.  Entries provided a visual representation of how efforts embody excellence within each category. All attendees of the Striving for Zero In-Person Meeting had an opportunity to vote on projects, and winners were announced during the closing session on Friday, March 1, 2024.

Sustainable Practices

This award went to a county team that has put in place any type of sustainable practice that helps ensure suicide prevention leadership and implementation work will continue when faced with staff, leadership, or funding changes.  Examples could include data sharing MOUs, suicide prevention trainings that are part of employee onboarding practices, uniform risk assessment processes, or the responsibility of co-chairing a committee or providing administrative oversight as part of a job description.

Innovative Partnerships

This award went to a county team that has established untraditional or innovative partnerships to advance implementation of their strategic plan and local suicide prevention work. Examples include partnerships with organizations (hospitals, sports teams, local businesses, other departments, coalitions, and more) that can provide access to community members, provide staffing or funding, or implement trainings.

Communicating Data and Measuring Outcomes

This award went to advances in gathering and using data to inform suicide prevention efforts and/or creating public-facing data documents that align with effective messaging for suicide prevention.  Examples include data dashboards, suicide prevention reports to the community, establishment of a suicide fatality review team, facilitation of data integration workgroups and more.

Infusing Culture into Suicide Prevention Efforts

This award went to a county team or coalition that has infused culturally responsive strategies and approaches throughout their plan and other efforts. Examples may include infusing culture throughout their strategic planning process and implementation, ensuring the strategic plan and outreach and education materials available in several or all threshold languages, using data to inform culturally responsive suicide prevention activities and outcomes.

Outreach, Media & Communication

This award went to a county team for excellence in outreach and raising awareness about suicide prevention.  Examples can include communication efforts ranging from grassroots and shoestring budgets to larger scale social media and traditional media campaigns.

Targeted Approaches

This award went to a county team that has implemented innovative outreach efforts, interventions, or programs to reach populations at disproportionate risk for suicide.

Interventions (After a Suicide Attempt)

This award went to a county team that has implemented impactful programming to support individuals after a suicide attempt.  This might include establishing or expanding attempt survivor support groups or creating a formal or informal “caring contact” program to support individuals after a suicide attempt, or supports to help individuals transition back to school or work after a suicide attempt.

Interventions (After a Suicide Loss)

This award went to a county team that has implemented impactful programming to support individuals, families, or communities after a suicide death.  This might include but is not limited to the creation of delayed or active response teams, offering survivor of suicide loss support groups, creating school or community-based postvention plans.

Comprehensive Suicide Related Care

This award went to a county team that has implemented practices to identify, support, and promote care for individuals during times of suicidal distress or elevated risk. Examples may include developing policies, procedures, and workforce training for screening, assessment, management, and triage across multiple organizational levels. Other potential examples include integrating suicide care tools (e.g., safety plan templates, screening tools, suicide documentation templates) into electronic health records or resource repositories for staff, innovative approaches to crisis stabilization and continuity of care, or provision of clinical trainings in evidence-based suicide interventions.

Involving the Whole Community-Everyone Can Play a Role in Suicide Prevention

This award went to a county team that found a way to engage a broad range of partners in the community in their suicide prevention efforts.  This could be through a public event, a press conference, a conference/summit, or another type of activity/event hosted by their coalition or network.

Striving for Zero

This category allowed members to nominate any effort that they are proud of and that doesn’t fit into any of the other categories and makes a difference in Striving for Zero suicides in local communities.

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

Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module #1: Describing the Problem of Suicide Prevention Part 1 – Suicide Deaths and Suicide Attempt Data (June 30, 2021)

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 (July 21, 2021)

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.

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.

Training Modules

Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module #3: Strategic Approaches to Trainings (October 20, 2021)

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

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:

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 31, 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.

Means Safety

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,, 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.

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.

Striving for Zero Rural County Collaborative Meeting #3: Rethinking Culture, Diversity, and Suicide Prevention in Rural Counties (November 2, 2022)
During this meeting Dr. Joyce Chu and Dr. Christopher Weaver discussed considerations for examining culture and diversity in rural communities. The presentation included an overview of the context of culture and diversity in rural suicide and suicide prevention and guidelines for infusing culture and diversity into program planning and assessment.

Striving for Zero Rural Collaborative Meeting #4: The Context of Rural Suicide and Suicide Prevention (November 8, 2023)
This meeting provided a refresher on the context of rural suicide and suicide prevention followed by group discussion around creative implementation and funding for local efforts. Resources to stay connected with other rural communities and rural suicide prevention efforts were shared.

Striving for Zero Rural Collaborative Meeting #5: Rural Minds (April 17, 2024)
Guest speakers from Rural Minds, a national non-profit organization that serves as the informed voice for mental health in rural America. The speakers provided an overview of rural mental health challenges and shared resources that Rural Minds has developed to support rural communities to address mental health and suicide prevention. Also shared were additional resources that rural communities can use for planning and implementing activities to reduce mental health stigma and promote suicide prevention.

CalVDRS Webinar

California Violent Death Reporting System Suicide Data Dashboard Webinar (December 6, 2023)
The Striving for Zero Team co planned this webinar along with the California Violent Death Reporting System Team, the Suicide Prevention Program Team, and the Violence Prevention Initiative Team. Presenters provided background about the California Violent Death Reporting System (CalVDRS) and how counties can be a part of this important surveillance system. The webinar also featured the newly launched dashboard that summarizes suicide-specific data for CalVDRS participating counties. Presenters shared how the data can be used for prevention purposes and how to utilize the dashboard to visualize data at the county, regional, and state level.

Downstream Suicide Prevention

Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Module: Improving Clinical Systems of Care — A Focus on Downstream Suicide Prevention (January 31, 2024)
This module addressed strategies, tools, and approaches for creating sustainable suicide safety nets within a county’s clinical systems, through a model of systematical organizational change.

The module delivered the primary goals of this downstream work, as well as tools and recommendations counties can use to:

  • Identify existing organizational barriers around suicide risk management,
  • Implement solutions that are implementable and sustainable for diverse clients and consumers; and
  • Pair upstream community-level efforts with the downstream focus on improving clinical systems of care.

Additionally, common gaps and barriers in suicide care were discussed, alongside examples of solutions through existing organizational county projects.  Mego Lien, MPH shared an in-depth example of Santa Clara County’s work to enhance culturally responsive clinical suicide practices and provided a County-level view of the process.

Additional Modules

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.