Finding Programs and Practices
One of the steps in a strategic approach to suicide prevention is to find programs and practices that address the risk and protective factors that you will be targeting.
This page will help you:
- Find sources of programs and practices
- Use these sources effectively
Program Registries and Lists
Program registries and lists are great sources of information on suicide prevention programs and practices.
This searchable repository provides information on several types of suicide prevention programs, such as education/training, screening, treatment, and environmental change.
- Programs with evidence of effectiveness
- Some of the programs included in this repository are designated as “Programs with Evidence of Effectiveness” (see box in Evidence-Based Prevention for an explanation). This is indicated in two ways:
- The icon (in search results)
- “Program with Evidence of Effectiveness” (under Type, at the top of individual program descriptions)
- These programs have been evaluated and found to result in at least one positive outcome related to suicide prevention.
- Other included programs
- Programs without the icon were previously listed in Section III of the SPRC Best Practices Registry. To be listed, the program content was reviewed for adherence to standards of accuracy, safety, likelihood of meeting objectives, and program design. Outcome data–whether the program had evidence of effectiveness–were not a part of the BPR review process.
This searchable online registry includes more than 350 substance abuse and mental health programs.
- Programs listed in NREPP that have outcomes related to suicide prevention are included in the SPRC Resources and Programs repository referenced above, and designated as "Programs with Evidence of Effectiveness."
- NREPP also lists many programs that address other mental health-related outcomes (not specific to suicide) and promote wellness.
- Please note that NREPP changed its review criteria in 2015. The interventions in SPRC’s Resources and Programs repository are currently a mix: some were reviewed under the old criteria, while others were reviewed using the new criteria and rating system. For more information, see Overview of NREPP Criteria and Ratings.
Other Program Registries and Lists
Many other registries and lists are availalble, each with its own focus and criteria. The resources below offer many additional sources of information on programs, including programs targeting specific groups and “upstream” prevention programs:
- NREPP’s Links to Other Evidence-Based Repositories and Resources on Evidence-Based Programs
- SPRC’s list of Promising Prevention Practices that are culturally appropriate for American Indian/Alaska Native settings.
Be sure to follow the guidance below on how to use program registries and lists. Just because a program appears on an evidence-based registry or other list doesn’t make it a good suicide prevention program!
Using Program Registries and Lists
When looking at existing programs, keep in mind that although a program was shown to be effective in changing one or more outcomes, that doesn’t mean it will work for your population, setting, or goals. Be sure to look for programs that address the risk and protective factors identified in your needs assessment and that are the most appropriate for the group(s) you are trying to reach.
Here are some tips for selecting programs:
- Avoid simply “picking from the list.” Program registries and lists are useful tools, but they are not substitutes for thoughtful data-driven strategic planning.
- Start with a needs assessment. Before consulting a registry, conduct a local assessment of the problem, risk and protective factors, and current efforts.
- Understand the source. Examine the definitions, criteria, and evidence ratings used by each registry or list.
- Assess relevance. Look for programs that address the underlying risk and protective factors and the conditions that drive or contribute to suicide in your context.
- Pay attention to outcomes and evidence ratings. For each program you’re considering, examine the outcomes that were evaluated and the strength of the research evidence for each outcome. Use that information to choose approaches with more evidence.
- Consider practical fit. Choose programs that match your population, setting, and culture and that are feasible in terms of capacity, resources, and readiness to act.