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Suicide awareness and prevention

by Roxanna Maiberger, Associate Risk Management Representative

The recent celebrity suicide deaths of TV chef Anthony Bourdain and designer Kate Spade have brought a new awareness to issues of depression and suicide. Reports indicate that suicide rates have increased across the United States—by more than 30% in some states.1 These events and reports offer a reminder that effective suicide prevention resources are available to the public and to health care providers for sharing with their patients.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline consists of a nationwide network of centers and support. These centers are available 24/7 and operate 7 days a week for at risk individuals. Contact information for the lifeline is listed below:

Phone: 1-800-273-8255


Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS):
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has published the C-SSRS, a comprehensive questionnaire, to help identify and recognize the signs of someone who may be suicidal.  Multiple institutions, including Columbia University and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), contributed to the development of the survey, which assesses the suicide risk of individuals who take the survey. The C-SSRS rating scale is evidence-based, available in 103 languages, and has been used in multiple settings, including public schools, college campuses, and primary care settings. 2

Training on administering this survey in clinical and center-based settings is recommended but not required. The survey is available for download

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), is a grassroots organization aimed at “building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.” 3 The organization, the largest of its kind in the nation, educates, advocates, listens, and leads initiatives to increase public awareness and increase access for individuals to mental health resources.

NAMI also provides its own helpline, the NAMI Helpline, as a resource for questions related to mental health. Please note, this helpline is unable to be used for therapy and counseling, but helps callers find helpful resources. Contact information and a website link is provided below:

Helpline hours: M-F 10am – 6pm, ET

Phone: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)




[1] Greenfieldboyce, N. CDC: U.S. suicide rates have climbed dramatically. NPR. Published June 7, 2018. Available at Accessed June 18, 2018.

[2] Posner, B., Lucas, G., Stanley, B., et. al. Columbia-suicide severity rating scale (C-SSRS): Risk assessment: Lifeline crisis center version. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Published 2008. Available at Accessed June 18, 2018.

[3] About NAMI. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Available at Accessed June 18, 2018.

Roxanna Maiberger can be reached at