Online Program

Substance abuse prevention is suicide prevention: Building connections between our fields to save lives

Monday, November 4, 2013

Tehout Selameab, M.P.P., Suicide Prevention Resource Center, Education Development Center, Waltham, MA
Ellyson R Stout, BS, MS, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, Education Development Center, Waltham, MA
Laurie Davidson, M.A., Suicide Prevention Resource Center, Education Development Center, Waltham, MA
Substance use has been identified as one of the main risk factors for suicide across populations. Nonetheless, substance abuse prevention and treatment continue to be largely separate from the suicide prevention field. We will explore the connection between substance use and suicide, using alcohol as an example to demonstrate how substance use impacts other suicide risk factors, most notably depression. Following this discussion, we will describe the benefits and barriers to collaborating at the nexus of suicide prevention and substance abuse, as identified through key informant interviews with suicide prevention practitioners, as well as findings from collaboration literature. We will then share a Collaboration Continuum, which aims to guide suicide and substance abuse prevention/treatment practitioners in building and sustaining cross-discipline collaborations. This Continuum describes the different developmental stages of collaboration, offers practical strategies for building such collaborations and provides practitioners with tools and resources for initiating or strengthening collaborations of their own. We will share case studies from tribal, state and campus suicide prevention programs that are collaborating with substance abuse prevention and treatment partners to highlight different stages along the Collaboration Continuum. This includes tribal programs implementing holistic approaches to promote wellness and healing; states that have integrated behavioral health and prevention services into a single agency; and college and university campuses that are co-branding prevention or wellness programs and participating in collaborative task forces or other strategic efforts.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Explain the connection between substance abuse and suicide prevention work using a risk and protective factors framework Describe interdisciplinary collaboration as an approach for addressing shared risk and protective factors at the nexus of substance abuse and suicide prevention work List the benefits and challenges of collaborating across substance abuse and suicide prevention disciplines Share strategies for overcoming common challenges of collaboration between substance abuse and suicide prevention

Keyword(s): Suicide, Substance Abuse Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I directed the project to create tools that would assist suicide prevention programs in collaborating with their substance abuse prevention and treatment counterparts. I work on a daily basis with suicide prevention programs around the country to build their capacity to effectively present suicide. I have worked in suicide prevention for over 6 years, and am a subject matter expert on the public health approach to suicide prevention, including key risk factors like substance use.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.