Lifelines Curriculum

Date: 2009
(For resources, this is the publication date. For programs, this is the date posted.)


Type:  Program/Practice, Education/Training Program, Program with Evidence of Effectiveness
Organization:  Hazelden

See the NREPP Listing or the Hazelden website.


See the NREPP Listing.

The Lifelines Curriculum is one component in Lifelines Intervention: Helping Students at Risk for Suicide, a comprehensive, schoolwide suicide prevention program for middle and high school students. The goal of the overall Lifelines Intervention is to promote a caring, competent school community in which help-seeking is encouraged and modeled and suicidal behavior is recognized as an issue that cannot be kept secret. Lifelines Intervention aims to increase the likelihood that school staff and students will be able and willing to identify at-risk youth when they encounter them, provide an appropriate initial response, and obtain help.

Lifelines Intervention includes a set of sequential components, including reviewing available resources and establishing administrative guidelines and procedures for responding to students at risk; training school faculty and staff to prepare them for their role in identifying and responding to suicidal students; providing a workshop and informational materials to parents; and implementing a curriculum for students, the Lifelines Curriculum, to inform students about suicidal behavior and discuss their role in suicide prevention.

The outcomes listed below are based on research that assessed only the Lifelines Curriculum, the educational component for students that is implemented last in the sequence. The curriculum consists of four 45-minute or two 90-minute lessons that incorporate elements of the social development model and employ interactive teaching techniques, including role-play. Health teachers and/or guidance counselors teach the lessons within the regular school health curriculum. These lessons were developed specifically for students in grades 8-10 but can be used with students through 12th grade. The curriculum manual and materials are available from Hazelden Publishing for a fee.

Designation as a "Program with Evidence of Effectiveness"

SPRC designated the Lifelines Curriculum as a “program with evidence of effectiveness” based on its inclusion in SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP).

Outcome(s) Reviewed (Overall Quality of Research Rating-scale of 0 to 4)*

1: Student knowledge about suicide (2.9)
2: Student attitudes about suicide and suicide intervention (2.9)
3: Student attitudes about seeking adult help (2.9)
4: Student attitudes about keeping a friend's suicide thoughts a secret (2.9)

Read more about this program’s ratings.


* NREPP changed its review criteria in 2015. This program is a “legacy program,” meaning that it was reviewed under the previous criteria. The evidence for each outcome was reviewed and scored on a scale of 0-4, with 4 indicating the highest quality of evidence and 0 indicating very poor quality of evidence. The overall rating was based on ratings of six criteria: 1) reliability of measures, 2) validity of measures, 3) intervention fidelity, 4) missing data and attrition, 5) potential confounding variables, and 6) appropriateness of analysis.  Over time, all legacy programs will be re-reviewed using the current criteria. When considering programs, we recommend (a) assessing whether the specific outcomes achieved by the program are a fit for your needs; and (b) examining the strength of evidence for each outcome. 

Implementation Essentials

  • Before implementing Lifelines, schools should develop linkages with local mental health services.

2012 NSSP Objectives Addressed: 

Objective 5.2: Encourage community-based settings to implement effective programs and provide education that promote wellness and prevent suicide and related behaviors.
Objective 7.1: Provide training on suicide prevention to community groups that have a role in the prevention of suicide and related behaviors.
Populations:  Youth, Adolescents
Settings:  Schools, Middle School, High School
Strategies:  Identify and Assist, Gatekeeper Training, Increase Help-Seeking