How to Create Long-Lasting Change

If you are interested in more in-depth information, click on the links provided throughout this element.

Community suicide prevention efforts are likely to create significant change only when they are cultivated and sustained over the long term. As the Integration element explains, suicide is a complex issue. To address it, communities need a multi-pronged approach focused on their unique mix of risk and protective factors.

To develop suicide prevention efforts that last, communities need strong partner commitment and engagement and consistent funding. Policy and practice changes can also help sustain efforts. These three components each contribute to different aspects of sustainability and often work together to achieve it. However, it is difficult to develop consistent funding or policy and practice changes unless you first have strong partner commitment from all of the populations you want to reach. For more information on building strong partnerships, visit the Unity element. For more information on how different community partners’ daily activities can contribute to suicide prevention, visit Fit Key Area 3: Incorporating Community Context and Culture.

There are three key areas for achieving the Sustainability element:

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The Suicide Prevention Coalition of Erie County has sustained active partner engagement by using the following strategies: (1) all members agree to group bylaws and a memorandum of understanding that describe specific time and participation expectations, (2) coalition subcommittees provide opportunities for members to take on leadership roles, and (3) annual coalition events recognize partners’ contributions and provide time for relationship development. These strategies have contributed to robust, sustained partnerships with over 50 community organizations since 2012.

– Celia Spacone, PhD, Coordinator, Suicide Prevention Coalition of Erie County