We are pleased to present the new Connecticut Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention (PLAN 2020), the result of a collaboration of many stakeholders committed to suicide prevention. While acknowledging the complexity of the personal and situational factors associated with suicidal behavior, a public health approach is regarded as the one most effective to reduce suicide attempts and deaths.
Although Connecticut has one of the lowest rates of suicide in the United States, an average of 351 residents per year over the past five years have died from suicide, almost three times the number of homicides. Suicide deaths are largely preventable, and even one death is too many. Therefore, a concerted force organized around the guiding principles outlined in PLAN 2020 is our best hope for addressing this tragic public health and mental health problem. Connecticut stakeholders must mobilize their resources in a rapid response to prevent further death and disability associated with suicide.
An integrated and coordinated effort with multiple partners is a keystone of the public health approach. Collaboration among public health, mental health, medical, social services, law enforcement, military, political and other community stakeholders is crucial to prevent suicide attempts and deaths. The PLAN 2020 was developed by the Connecticut Suicide Advisory Board (CTSAB). The CTSAB is supported and co-chaired by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), and is comprised of volunteers and staff representing a variety of state and community sectors. PLAN 2020 establishes five goals and 22 objectives for Connecticut to initiate state prevention activities, and is aligned with the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and Healthy People 2020 (CT State Health Improvement Plan). The fact that suicides are preventable calls for organized activation of our resources driven by data and evidence-based best practices to address the goals and objectives in this plan to prevent suicide attempts and deaths. Multiple individuals, including survivors, consumers, advocates, and representatives from state agencies and diverse organizations, contributed input and feedback that shaped this document.
The PLAN 2020 is designed to be accessible to everyone and it is our goal that individuals, communities, institutions and organizations use the plan as their working template to guide their efforts small and large to prevent suicide attempts and deaths and ultimately save lives in Connecticut.
The DCF, DMHAS and CTSAB are committed to the full implementation of the goals and objectives of the PLAN 2020. We hope you find the PLAN 2020 useful, and we thank you for your dedication to working together with us to prevent further suicide attempts and deaths in our state.
Joette Katz, JD
Department of Children and Families
Patricia Rehmer, MSN, ACHE
Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services