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Evaluation Planning for Suicide Prevention Programs

For all community health programs, evaluation is an essential tool to determine whether the program is meeting its goals. For rural suicide prevention programs, goals might include the following: increased awareness in the community, greater access to care, participation in programs, and, ultimately, the numbers of lives saved. The information that is generated through an evaluation process is useful for the program to make any necessary changes as well as to report back to key stakeholders and the public. Planning for an evaluation in advance is an important part of a successful evaluation.

Evaluation planning starts with identifying the core components of the program, identifying the program's goals, and considering any outside factors or barriers that may impact the evaluation outcome. As discussed in the implementation module of this toolkit, it is essential to engage stakeholders in planning for the evaluation process. It is also important to plan on conducting an evaluation even before the program is implemented and to plan for ongoing evaluation efforts in order to ensure the program's lasting success.

Resources to Learn More

Developing an Effective Evaluation Plan
Offers a set of guidelines and recommendations to be considered when designing an evaluation plan.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Date: 2011

Challenges and Recommendations for Evaluating Suicide Prevention Programs: State and Tribal Evaluators Community of Learning
Provides a range of information on conducting evaluations for suicide prevention programs.
Organization(s): Suicide Prevention Resource Center
Date: 2015

RAND Suicide Prevention Program Evaluation Toolkit
Identifies a variety of issues to consider when planning for and implementing a suicide prevention evaluation program.
Author(s): Acosta, J., Ramchand, R., Becker, A., Felton, A., & Kofner, A.
Organization(s): RAND Corporation
Date: 2013