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Resource Considerations for Implementing Suicide Prevention Programs

When planning a program, consider the resources, both available and necessary, for successful implementation of the program. These include existing services and resources in the community, financial resources, volunteers, and materials.

Existing Services and Resources

Prior to implementing a suicide prevention program, it is important to understand what programs, services, and resources already exist in the community. Identifying existing community resources relevant to the program can help increase coordination of similar efforts, identify potential partners, and leverage community assets. If the suicide prevention program involves identifying individuals at risk of suicide, it is critical for the program to link them to appropriate mental health services. Programs must ensure these services are available in the community and that program staff have processes for connecting at-risk individuals to care. To accomplish this, programs can establish a relationship with local providers, inform them of the program, and discuss ways to ensure continuity of care. Many organizations choose to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with other local organizations to facilitate this process.

Financial Resources

Funding is an essential resource for a suicide prevention program. Sustainable funding models often include multiple types of funding sources. Having a strong network of community partners can help support this need. Partners can help fund the program directly, offer insight on how to obtain funds, collaborate on funding opportunities, or provide discounted goods, services, staffing, transportation, or facility space. Other sources of funding include state or federal grants, philanthropic organizations, and corporations.

For more information on funding sources, see Module 6: Funding and Sustainability of Rural Suicide Prevention Programs.

For current funding opportunities for suicide prevention programs, see Rural Funding & Opportunities by Topic in the Online Library.


Rural suicide prevention programs can leverage community involvement and volunteer support. For example, local chapters of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) lean on volunteers to raise awareness through community events and Out of the Darkness walks, and to provide trainings. Local and national talk and text lines use volunteers to help staff the lines and support people who call and text the lines. Volunteers can also serve on local chapter boards to guide suicide prevention efforts.

Volunteers are often motivated to make a difference following the tragedy of suicide in their community. For many survivors of suicide, being involved with a program to help prevent additional suicides is a positive way for them to cope with loss and make an impact in their community.

When including volunteers, a suicide prevention program should have clear plans, policies, and procedures in place. The program should specify the types of activities in which the volunteers will participate and lead. It is also important that volunteers receive training specific to their role. Moreover, proper care and support for volunteers cannot be overlooked. Given the difficult and complex nature of suicide, volunteers may experience burnout, intense reminders of past trauma, or vicarious or secondary trauma. Written plans, policies, and procedures will help keep volunteers engaged long term and ensure a positive experience for both the volunteers and the people they serve.


The materials needed for a suicide prevention program — such as brochures, flyers, toolkits, palm cards, guides, and marketing materials — may differ greatly depending on the program goals and activities and available budget. It can be costly to print and collect materials, so programs should budget accordingly. When creating new materials specific to the program, it is important to ensure they are based on reliable and evidence-based practices. There are many free and sharable resources on suicide prevention that can be utilized including toolkits, graphics, and fact sheets.

Resources to Learn More

Digital Shareables on Suicide Prevention
A collection of resources and graphics available for download and use to raise awareness about suicide prevention. Includes social media text and images.
Organization: National Institute of Mental Health