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Biden-Harris Administration Releases National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and First-Ever Federal Action Plan

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Public-private collaboration results in new 10-year strategy for the first time in over a decade

Today, the Biden Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the 2024 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (National Strategy) and accompanying Federal Action Plan. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in partnership with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance), led the development of these critical deliverables which support the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities to address the overdose and mental health crises, key pillars of the Biden-Harris Unity Agenda. An Interagency Work Group (IWG), comprised of over 20 agencies in 10 federal departments across the government contributed to the development of the National Strategy.

Suicide is an urgent and growing public health crisis. More than 49,000 people in the United States died by suicide in 2022. That’s one death every 11 minutes. Addressing this crisis requires a bold new strategy, and the first-ever Federal Action Plan to put the strategy into action and drive results. The National Strategy is a comprehensive, whole-of-society approach to suicide prevention.

The National Strategy outlines concrete recommendations for addressing gaps and meeting the needs of at-risk populations. It is accompanied by the first-ever Federal Action Plan, which identifies 200 discrete actions to be initiated and evaluated over the next three years. Actions include, for example, identifying ways to address substance use and suicide risk together in the clinical setting, funding a mobile crisis locator for use by 988 crisis centers, increasing support for survivors of suicide loss and others whose lives have been impacted by suicide, and evaluating promising community-based suicide prevention strategies. Each of these actions will be monitored and evaluated regularly to determine progress and success, and to further identify barriers to successful suicide prevention.

For the first time, the nation’s suicide prevention strategy will include a pillar prioritizing equity, an essential requirement to meet the specific and urgent need to address populations disproportionately impacted by suicide.

This coordinated and comprehensive approach to suicide prevention at the national, state, tribal, local, and territorial levels relies upon critical partnerships across the public and private sectors. To ensure effective actions are advanced in accordance with the Federal Action Plan, people with lived experience have been and remain critical to the implementation of this strategy.

“Suicide is a complex public health problem, tragically impacting our friends, family members, neighbors and community members nationwide,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “The Biden-Harris Administration has consistently prioritized the health and well-being of Americans and this strategy—and the unprecedented interagency coordination demonstrated in the federal action plan—commits to the American people that we are here for you.”

“Suicide can touch any of us, and leave behind heartbroken families and communities,” said HHS Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm. “The Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to transforming our behavioral health system and reducing rates of suicide across the country. This includes integrating suicide prevention into our health and social systems, our communities and our workplaces. The National Strategy builds on our work across government to provide prevention, intervention and recovery services for those in need, and represents our continued commitment to bring all of government together on this critical issue, in partnership with our state, tribal, local and territorial partners.”

The urgency and need for the National Strategy and Federal Action Plan are further illustrated by additional data. For example, every year millions of people think about, plan, or attempt suicide. The problem is particularly stark among youth. In 2021, 22% of high school students seriously considered suicide, with nearly 1 in 10 having attempted suicide. Populations disproportionately impacted include Veterans, certain racial and ethnic groups, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ populations, youth, middle-aged, and older adults, individuals with serious mental illness, and certain occupational groups, among others. For example, between 2018 and 2021, suicide rates rapidly increased among non-Hispanic Black or African American populations ages 10–24 (+36.6% increase) and 25–44 years (+22.9%), non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaska Native populations ages 25–44 (+33.7%), non-Hispanic multiracial populations ages 25–44 years (+20.6%), and Hispanic populations ages 25–44 years (+19.4%).

“We are pleased to release this National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, updated for the first time in more than a decade, with the best knowledge and practices to date that we have to offer,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., and the leader of SAMHSA. “The need for this strategy is reflected in the heart-breaking and alarmingly high statistics surrounding suicide and suicidal ideation. This strategy is the product of an ongoing commitment, and we stand, hand-in-hand with people with lived experience, federal and private sector partners, and everyone committed to this work that will ultimately save lives.”

“Improving mental health and preventing suicides requires a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach,” said CDC Director Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH. “At CDC we are bringing timely data-driven strategies that can be implemented through partnerships and investments at the national, state, and local level. Today’s national suicide prevention strategy outlines how we can work together to build resilient communities, protect health, and save lives.”

“Suicide takes an insurmountable toll on families and communities across our nation,” said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. “The Biden-Harris Administration has taken unprecedented steps to address the mental health crisis that has plagued our country for decades. The National Strategy and Action Plan are critical parts of those efforts. They recognize that issues such as the impact of social media on mental health, the intersection of suicide and substance use, and the unique challenges faced by historically marginalized communities demand our immediate attention. This new strategy will enable us to do more to prevent these tragic deaths and build healthier, more connected communities.”

The National Strategy seeks to prevent suicide risk in the first place; identify and support people with increased risk through treatment and crisis intervention; prevent reattempts; promote long-term recovery; and support survivors. It incorporates advances in the field, addresses emerging issues, and is designed to guide, motivate, and promote a more coordinated and comprehensive approach to suicide prevention in communities across the country. It focuses on addressing the many risk and protective factors associated with suicide, with the recognition that there is no single solution to this complex challenge.

Health equity in suicide prevention is not only a strategic direction but is also integrated throughout the entire National Strategy to better focus on populations disproportionately affected by suicide and suicide attempts throughout the full continuum of care.

“This National Strategy offers a renewed focus and clear commitment to reducing suicide in the United States. The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention is committed to leveraging its role as the nation’s public-private partnership for suicide prevention to activate its diverse network of public and private sector leaders to implement this National Strategy,” said Colleen Carr, MPH, Director of the Action Alliance. “There is both an urgent need and unique opportunity to make significant and measurable progress around suicide prevention in the U.S., and doing so will require collaboration, coordination, and a shared commitment by federal agencies and private sector organizations.”

To learn more about the 2024 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and Federal Action Plan, visit www.hhs.gov/nssp.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org. To learn how to get support for mental health, drug or alcohol issues, visit FindSupport.gov. If you are ready to locate a treatment facility or provider, you can go directly to FindTreatment.gov or call 800-662-HELP (4357).

About the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention

The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance) is the public-private partnership working to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and make suicide prevention a national priority. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), through the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) grant, provides funding to the Education Development Center (EDC) to operate and manage the Secretariat for the Action Alliance, which was launched in 2010. Learn more at theactionalliance.org and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following the Action Alliance on Facebook, X, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

About the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) is the only federally supported resource center devoted to building nationwide capacity to implement the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. SPRC is supported by a grant from SAMHSA. Find up-to-date publications and professional development to support effective suicide prevention efforts in communities, states, Tribes, and health care systems at sprc.org and on X, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

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Reporters with questions should send inquiries to media@samhsa.hhs.gov.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to lead public health and service delivery efforts that promote mental health, prevent substance misuse, and provide treatments and supports to foster recovery while ensuring equitable access and better outcomes.

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