Interventions to Prevent Suicide

A Literature Review to Guide Evaluation of California's Mental Health Prevention and Early Intervention Initiative

by Joie D. Acosta, Rajeev Ramchand, Lisa H. Jaycox, Amariah Becker, Nicole K. Eberhart

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A number of prevention and early intervention initiatives aim to reduce the incidence of suicide, and the authors evaluate these initiatives by reviewing suicide prevention (SP) literature to learn about SP program effectiveness and the methodologies previously used to evaluate SP programs. Using evidence from the literature review, they provide an overview of the epidemiology of suicides and of non-fatal self-inflicted injuries in California and present a framework for conceptualizing SP programs. They find that identifying whether a SP program was effective at reducing suicide deaths is challenging because suicide is such a rare event. They also find that programs may have differential effects on population subgroups, because suicide rates differ by age, race, and gender. Finally, they determine that SP programs may show immediate reductions in suicide attempts but their long-term effects are uncertain.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Suicide in California: Epidemiology

  • Chapter Three

    RAND's Conceptual Model of Suicide Prevention Programs

  • Chapter Four

    Commonly Used Measures for Evaluating Suicide Prevention Programs

The research described in this report was prepared for the California Mental Health Services Authority and was conducted within RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation.

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