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Suicide Prevention

IF YOU NEED HELP NOW, CALL 1-800-273-TALK (8255) OR TEXT "4HOPE" TO 741 741

Together, we can save lives and have fewer families, friends, schoolmates and others impacted by suicide.

We can prevent suicide by identifying suicide prevention as major public health issue and disseminating strategies demonstrated to decrease suicide.

OhioMHAS holds the aspirational belief of Zero Suicide - that suicide deaths for individuals under care within health and behavioral health systems are preventable. In order to achieve this, we continue to support a data driven, comprehensive, public health approach to preventing suicides and ensure that all Ohioans have access to effective, high quality suicide prevention, intervention, treatment, and postvention support services.

We all have an important role to play in preventing suicide, today and every day.There is hope and together, we can all help to prevent suicide in Ohio.



There are things to look out for when you are concerned that a loved one or friend may be suicidal.Look for changes in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. This is of most concern if the new or changed behavior is related to a painful event, loss, or change. Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do.

  • Talking; if a person talks about:
    • Killing themselves
    • Feeling hopeless
    • Having no reason to live
    • Being a burden to others
    • Feeling trapped
    • Unbearable pain
  • Behaviors that may signal risk, especially if related to a painful event, loss or change:
    • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
    • Looking for a way to end their lives, such as searching online for methods
    • Withdrawing from activities
    • Isolating from family and friends
    • Sleeping too much or too little
    • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
    • Giving away prized possessions
    • Aggression
    • Fatigue
  • Mood; people who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:
    • Depression
    • Anxitey
    • Loss of interest
    • Irritability
    • Humiliation/Shame
    • Agitation/Anger
    • Relief/Sudden Improvement


Please know there are concrete, actionable steps all of us can take when it comes to suicide prevention. We must be present for ourselves so we can be there for someone who might be struggling or is in a crisis.

  • Some things we can do:
    • Check in with a friend by phone or text message to see how they are doing.
    • Invite a friend to meet for a physically-distanced coffee or meal together.
    • Send a handwritten card to let someone know you are thinking of them.
    • Help them connect with ongoing support, such as a local crisis line, the National Suicide Prevention Life line (1-800-273-8255) or the Crisis Text Line (text “4hope” to 741 741)
    • Learn the risk factors and warning signs.
    • Help connect someone who is struggling to professional care.
  • Find help:
    • The Ohio CareLine is a 24/7 emotional support call service created by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The line offers free, confidential support in times of personal crisis when individuals may be struggling to cope with current challenges in their lives.
    • Crisis Text Line, text the keyword “4hope” to 741 741 to be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor within 5 minutes.
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Number (800-273-8255), which provides 24/7, free, and confidential support.
    • Mental Health Treatment Locator
    • Substance Use Disorder Treatment Locator

Suicide Prevention Plan for Ohio

The Suicide Prevention Plan for Ohio is the result of a statewide effort to guide Ohio’s suicide prevention efforts. Diverse stakeholders partnered with state and county agencies, private providers, philanthropic entities, local coalitions and advocacy voices- most importantly those families and suicide survivors-to craft this plan to mobilize and align efforts to prevention Suicide. For more information on the plan and its implementation, please see the below document.

Community Impact

Suicide Prevention Coalitions

Ohio’s communities are an integral partner in the implementation of suicide prevention efforts and provide a vital setting to ensure these efforts have a large reach. Effective community-based efforts are focused on empowering individuals and communities to create environments that promote and support healthy lives by improving physical, mental, emotional and social health by increasing knowledge, skills and influencing attitudes. This also includes addressing stigma and social determinants of health impact health, well-being, and quality of life. Examples of SDOH include:

  • Safe housing, transportation, and neighborhoods
  • Racism, discrimination, and violence
  • Education, job opportunities, and income
  • Access to nutritious foods and physical activity opportunities
  • Polluted air and water
  • Language and literacy skills

Social Determinants of Health also contribute to wide health disparities and inequities. To truly impact community change, people must come together to identify a common problem and mobilize resources to implement best practice strategies. Suicide and other behavioral health problems are complex social issues too large to tackle by any one organization. Because of this, community coalitions, representing many sectors of the community are a vital strategy in addressing complex social problems such as suicide.

Ohio’s Suicide Prevention coalitions play an important role in understanding the problem of suicide in a community and helping to identify strategies that may be most culturally appropriate, relevant and effective. By engaging in a data-driven, strategic planning process, suicide prevention coalitions can develop comprehensive, evidence informed plans that lead to the development of safe, supportive environments focused on prevention and access to the highest quality suicide care. For more information on suicide prevention coalitions in Ohio please visit:

Gatekeeper Trainings

Identifying and assisting individuals at risk for suicide is a key component of a comprehensive approach to preventing suicide. Friends, family, co-workers, and others can help if they know how to recognize and respond to the signs of suicide risk. Providing Gatekeeper trainings in communities, teaches people to identify individuals who are showing warning signs of suicide risk and help these individuals get the services they need.

When considering gatekeeper trainings in your community the follow should be should/must be considered:

  • Targeting individuals who have regular interaction with people who may be at increased risk for suicide is critically important to reducing suicide. For example, high school teachers and students; first responders; faith community leaders; and people who work with older adults, LGBT youth, men in the middle years, veterans, and those involved in the criminal justice system.
  • Adapting a gatekeeper training to meet the cultural needs of the community in which they are used.

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center has additional information regarding selecting gatekeeping training appropriate for your setting and guidance for culturally adapting gatekeeper trainings.

OhioMHAS currently supports the following gatekeeper trainings:
  • Question Persuade Refer (do we refer them to OSPF who can do training)
  • Working Minds-Suicide Prevention in the Workplace (do we refer them to OSPF who can do training)
  • Mental Health First Aid
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid

Zero Suicide

OhioMHAS supports the belief that individuals under the care of health and behavioral health systems, that including substance use treatment setting, are preventable. If your organization is dedicated to improving patient safety, Zero Suicide presents an aspirational challenge and practical framework for system-wide transformation toward safer suicide care. To learn more about the Zero Suicide framework and how to get started, please visit http://zerosuicide.edc.org/.

Data Driven Decision Making

Suicide prevention efforts must be data driven in order to be effective, culturally appropriate and sustainable. Because of this, it is critical to develop skills related to data collection, analysis and dissemination are needed. We know that there is not a single source that can provide all data needed to understand the suicide problem, including data on suicide deaths, attempts, thoughts, and related risk and protective factors. The following resources can be utilized to help gather and use data to guide decisions—from identifying which problems to address in their communities, to choosing the most appropriate ways to address these problems, to determining whether communities are making progress.

  • OHYES! Data for Schools and Communities-The Ohio Healthy Youth Environments Survey (OHYES!) is a free, voluntary, web-based survey to collect information that schools and communities can use to access resources to reduce risk behaviors and create healthy and safe community, school and family environments. The survey is available for students in grades 7 through 12 and the data helps Ohio schools, community leaders, and parents identify important areas of need and track improvements in health and safety over time. Learn more.
  • Ohio Public Health Information Warehouse- The Ohio Public Health Information Warehouse is a self-service online tool where anyone can obtain the most recent public health data available about Ohio. The application allows for the creation of custom reports, charts and maps from a variety of data sources. View the information warehouse.
  • Injury and Surveillance Data- The Ohio Violence and Injury Prevention Section (VIPS) is a data driven program that uses population-based surveillance systems and additional data sources to inform prevention activities, policies and program evaluation efforts. The VIPS assesses the impact of violence and injury on Ohio’s population by analyzing morbidity, mortality and survey data. View the data.