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National Suicide Prevention Effort Sees Progress at One-Year Mark

The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention marked its one year anniversary today by launching its twelfth task force - one focused on suicide prevention in the workplace.

Roughly 80% of all suicides are by working-aged adults and the majority of those are employed at the time of their deaths. Initially, the Workplace Task Force plans to create a compelling business case for suicide prevention, designed to encourage more employers to initiate programs for their workforce.

Since its establishment, the Action Alliance has made significant progress toward both a revised National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and the first-ever, prioritized research agenda for suicide prevention. Drafts of each are expected to be released in April 2012. The new strategy will reflect developments in technology, increased knowledge about vulnerable populations, and advancements in science since the first edition of the National Strategy was released in 2001.

"I am encouraged by the progress we are making." said Action Alliance private-sector co-chair, former Senator Gordon H. Smith, President and CEO, National Broadcasters Association "The Alliance has brought together over 200 highly respected national leaders representing 190 organizations and very quickly formed 12 task forces. With the help of these dedicated members, the Action Alliance is moving toward reaching its goal of a nation free from the tragic experience of suicide."

In its first seven months, the Action Alliance launched three groups of task forces to help advance high-priority objectives for suicide prevention requiring national leverage:

  1. infrastructure task forces (National Strategy revision, research prioritization, and data and surveillance),
  2. high risk group task forces (American Indian/Alaska Native, Military/Veterans, and lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender youth), and
  3. intervention task forces (youth in contact with juvenile justice, faith communities, clinical care and intervention, clinical workforce preparedness, and public awareness and education).

Since their launch, each of these task forces has developed goals and objectives and cultivated memberships representing a wide range of private- and public-sector interests.

"One of the keys to success has been the collaboration between the government and private sector," said John McHugh, Secretary of the Army and public-sector co-chair of the Action Alliance. "This organization has brought together an extraordinary group of experts, academics and leaders to work on some of the nation's most critical suicide prevention issues, many of which were identified ten years ago, but weren't addressed until now."

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