A statewide effort to reduce suicides and support the families affected

Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. This significant public health issue must be addressed to support our communities and prevent the loss of life.

In 2023, there were more than 39,000 visits to the emergency room for suicidality and 1,492 deaths by suicide reported in Arizona.

To combat the growing number of deaths by suicide, our Suicide Prevention Program has developed a new annual comprehensive suicide prevention plan, which helps support residents and their loved ones by establishing a coordinated network of community and state partners to work together in this effort. 

This prevention plan serves as a strategic framework, aiming to identify and address risk factors, while promoting protective measures to bolster mental wellness and resilience. 

To successfully administer the state suicide prevention plan, Arizona needs collaborative effort from all sectors of society. Arizona’s plan involves a multidisciplinary approach that includes mental health professionals, health care providers, policymakers, community leaders, and other important stakeholders. 

The plan includes a range of interventions, including public education campaigns, training programs for health care providers and educators, crisis hotlines, and support services for individuals and families affected by suicide. 

Arizona’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan (SPAP), 2024 to 2026, is a significant expansion of the previous 2022 to 2023 SPAP

The 2024 to 2026 plan is separated into three sub-plans, each addressing a key area of Suicide Prevention in our state: partnership, infrastructure, and action.

The Partnership Plan was developed by workgroups established under the 2022-2023 plan, which included the populations disproportionately affected by suicide. The members of this workgroup were vetted by a committee composed of stakeholders and other subject-matter-experts from across the state. This innovative approach allows those who do the work to help guide the plan. Almost 300 individual stakeholders representing 108 state, local, and national organizations joined in this effort and created 25 initiatives to implement over the span of the 2024-2026 plan.

A second major goal of the 2024 to 2026 plan is to award funds to those doing the work through the Infrastructure Plan. Our intent is to provide different tiers of financial assistance through a Request For Grant Application (RFGA) tailored to meet the needs of small coalitions and stakeholders, while enabling larger organizations with greater capacity to implement larger-scale initiatives. 

Each offering was based on stakeholder feedback, helping direct the money for the greatest impact. 

The third section of the plan, the ADHS Action Plan, focuses on those elements that only we, as the department, will be responsible for, including maintaining externally facing suicide data dashboards, providing support to Arizona’s crisis systems, working with disproportionately affected communities to reduce their risk of suicidality, and coordinating statewide suicide prevention activities.

ADHS is determined to continuously improve our strategies, embrace innovation, and engage our communities to build a sustainable future where suicide prevention remains a top priority. Together, we can create a legacy of hope, resilience, and support that transcends generations.