University of South Florida

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Florida Suicide Prevention Implementation Project Fact Sheet


Florida Legislature


Project effective July 2007 through September 2008.

Primary Reason

Suicide is a serious, pervasive, yet preventable public health issue. In 2005, Florida ranked 3rd highest among states for the number of suicide fatalities and had the 18th highest suicide rate. Suicide was the states 10th leading cause of death in 2006. Florida's suicide rate was nearly double the homicide rate.

Project Mission

Assist the Florida Office of Suicide Prevention and Florida’s communities with implementing the Florida Suicide Prevention Strategy. The Strategy has 3 major goals:
Goal 1: Decrease the incidence of suicide in Florida by one third by the end of 2010.
Goal 2: Decrease the incidence of teen suicide in Florida by one third by the end of 2010.
Goal 3: Decrease the incidence of elder suicide in Florida by on third by the end of 2010.

Project Work Plan


1. Assisted the newly-formed Florida Suicide Prevention Coordinating Council to establish shared priorities. Using a research technique involving well-established statistical methods, the Council brainstormed and prioritized 125 actions for accelerating the movement of the Strategy into ongoing community actions.

2. Partnered with the Office of Suicide Prevention on partially funded statewide awareness activities. The Well Aware Campaign, a series of suicide prevention bulletins for school administrators and policymakers who influence education. Distributed statewide electronically and to the counties in hard copy. Created the Florida Suicide Prevention Strategy brochure to communicate the State’s strategy and to encourage its implementation. The project funded the production and distribution of 13,000 brochures across Florida.

3.Assisted two Florida communities with mobilizing and maintaining momentum to achieve the Strategy’s goals. Contacted community leaders to identify potential champions and stakeholders. Project services resulted in new/expanded membership in local coalitions to include various segments of the communities. The project created news letters and the fact sheet to be used by the sites as communication and training tools.

4. Created an implementation web site containing a community mobilization process, a menu of suicide prevention actions, links to the state’s strategy and other web resources, and tools from the two demonstration sites. This web site provides Florida communities with easy access to resources to implement the strategy.

5. In collaboration with Florida's Office of Suicide Prevention and the American Association of Suicidology, the project hosted suicide prevention training of 40 clinicians and mental health professionals from across the state. Recognizing and Responding to Suicide Risk: Essential Skills for Clinicians is an interactive training based on established core competencies which mental health professionals need to effectively assess and manage suicide risk.

6. Actively participated in suicide prevention events. Manned a booth at the 2008 Suicide Prevention Day at the Capitol and the 2008 Symposium for Suicide Prevention, presented the the 2008 Symposium.

Beyond the Grant

To save the lives of Florida’s citizens, the momentum achieved during the grant period must be continued. Experience teaches us that implementation is not guaranteed simply because something is the right thing to do. Community mobilization is a complex and difficult process which is aided, in great part, by technical support such as that being provided by FMHI. State offices and councils also benefit from technical support when coordinating and planning suicide prevention activities. Ultimately, the cumulative efforts of many local communities will save lives by preventing suicides in Florida.