Section I of the Best Practices Registry (BPR) lists evidence-based programs, that is, interventions that have undergone rigorous evaluation and demonstrated positive outcomes (as opposed to Section III programs, whose content is reviewed). It is accurate to say Section I programs are effective, although their effectiveness may not hold true for all audiences or settings. (See “NREPP Description” and “Guidance for NREPP Users” below for more details.)
Section I: Evidence-Based Programs combines programs from two sources:
- National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP)
NREPP is SAMHSA’s online registry of interventions that have demonstrated effectiveness in the prevention or treatment of mental health and substance use disorders, including some interventions that address suicide. While NREPP is independent of the BPR, all suicide-related interventions listed in NREPP are also included in Section I of the BPR.
- SPRC/AFSP Evidence-Based Practices Project (EBPP)
The EBPP was a previous effort to identify evidence-based suicide prevention practices. Interviews for the EBPP were stopped in 2005 when SAMSHA began reviewing suicide-related interventions for NREPP. Based on expert review, the EBPP included 12 evidence-based programs that were classified as either effective or promising. These 12 programs continue to be included in Section I of the BPR (most are now also listed in NREPP.) For more information about the EBPP, see EBPP Project Description (PDF) and List of Programs Identified by the EBPP (PDF).
Because NREPP is the primary source for BPR Section I programs, the remainder of this page focuses on NREPP.
NREPP is a searchable online registry to assist practitioners in learning about mental health and substance abuse interventions that have been scientifically tested and can be readily disseminated to the field. It includes preventive interventions and psychosocial treatments that have been reviewed and rated by independent reviewers. NREPP is funded and managed by the Substance and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
While the NREPP review and dissemination process operates independently of the BPR, all suicide-related interventions listed in NREPP also are included in Section I of the BPR.
Important Note: NREPP is an information source designed to increase the field’s access to research findings. It is not a list of interventions that meet a certain standard of research quality.
NREPP recommends that users carefully review each intervention’s ratings to understand the research results for each outcome. See “Guidance for NREPP Users” below for more suggestions on using NREPP effectively.
NREPP Eligibility and Review Criteria
This section provides a brief overview of SAMHSA’s eligibility and review criteria for NREPP interventions. Detailed information can be found at the NREPP website.
Eligibility Criteria: To be eligible for NREPP review, an intervention must meet all of the following:
- Demonstrate one or more positive outcomes (p≤.05) in mental health and/or substance use behavior obtained using an experimental or quasi-experimental study design
- Have results published in a peer-reviewed article or comprehensive evaluation report
- Have documentation describing the program and its proper implementation
Note: SAMHSA may include additional criteria for a specific submission period.
Review Criteria: Interventions are scored in two general areas:
- Quality of Research ratings summarize the strength of the evidence supporting the reported results or outcomes of the intervention. Each outcome is scored separately since interventions may target multiple outcomes (e.g., hopelessness, alcohol use, behavior problems in school). Quality of Research is rated on six criteria:
- Intervention fidelity
- Missing data and attrition
- Potential confounding variables
- Appropriateness of analysis
Readiness for Dissemination ratings summarize the amount and quality of the resources available to support the use of the intervention. Readiness for Dissemination of the overall program is rated on three criteria:
- Availability of implementation materials
- Training and support resources
- Quality assurance procedures
Intervention Summary: NREPP provides a detailed summary for each listed intervention, including the following information:
- Descriptive information
- Quality of Research ratings for each outcome
- Readiness for Dissemination ratings for the overall program
- Strengths and weaknesses
- Target populations included in the studies
- List of studies and materials that were reviewed
- Contact information
The NREPP website includes important guidance designed to help users understand and use its listings appropriately. In particular, the site emphasizes the following key points:
- As noted above, the NREPP is an information source for accessing research findings, not a list of interventions that meet specific research quality standards. The current NREPP system no longer categorizes interventions, such as Model, Effective, or Promising based on the strength of their evidence. NREPP users must use the Quality of Research findings to guide their own judgments of an intervention’s effectiveness. See the March 14, 2006, Federal Register for information about changes to NREPP that were implemented in 2007.
- Being listed in the NREPP does not mean that an intervention is equally effective for every outcome and for all populations and settings. NREPP ratings summarize information about the quality of the research so that potential users can understand each intervention’s scientific evidence base. The section on Using NREPP recommends that users carefully read each intervention’s key findings for each outcome. The summary also lists the target populations that participated in the research studies.
- NREPP users are encouraged to consider which interventions match their needs and to speak with program developers before selecting an intervention. The NREPP website provides a list of potential questions to ask developers (PDF) to facilitate these conversations. It also offers an online course to guide users through the process of selecting and implementing evidence-based programs. Also see Advice on Using the BPR for information about using NREPP listings as part of a systematic planning process.
- The NREPP is not a complete list of evidence-based interventions. Because it is a voluntary, self-nominating system, some developers do not submit their programs to NREPP. Also, not all submitted programs are accepted for review.
To be listed as an evidence-based program in Section I of the BPR, program developers must apply directly to the NREPP, following its submission and review processes. Submissions must be made during an open submission period, which typically begins in October and lasts 3 or 4 months. Open submission periods are announced on the NREPP website and in the Federal Register. Please see How to Apply to Section I: Evidence-Based Program for more information about applying to the NREPP.
SPRC/AFSP Technical Assistance for NREPP Submissions
Although the NREPP is operated independently by SAMHSA, SPRC/AFSP staff members are available to provide technical assistance for program developers wishing to submit their suicide prevention programs for NREPP review. Program developers are encouraged to contact Phil Rodgers of AFSP for assistance.
The list below includes suicide-related interventions currently listed in NREPP and those previously identified by the EBPP. (Several programs are listed in both registries.) NREPP-listed programs are linked to the program description on the NREPP website. EBPP program information is provided in a program fact sheet (PDF format).