Executive Summary | Using the State Plan | Information Gathering and Key Findings | Vision of Success | The Plan's Guiding Principles | Framework of the State Plan | Monitoring, Evaluating, and Reporting Progress
Revised Massachusetts Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention May 2015
To view the entire Massachusetts Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention, go to http://www.sprc.org/stateinformation/PDF/stateplans/plan_ma.pdf.
Below is the Executive Summary of the Massachusetts Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention.
“It is the hope that the plan will bring attention to the public health problem of suicide and the reality that there is a great deal that we can do to prevent it.”
Massachusetts Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention
Timothy P. Murray, Lt. Governor of MA. – September, 2009
The Massachusetts Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention (State Plan) provides a framework for identifying priorities, organizing efforts, and contributing to a statewide focus on suicide prevention, over the next several years. The State Plan is an initiative of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention (MCSP) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). The plan’s development was guided by a seven-member Steering Committee convened by MCSP, with DPH as the lead agency and the Department of Mental Health’s (DMH) support.
In 2008, there were 504 suicides in Massachusetts—more than deaths from homicide (183) and HIV/AIDS (143) combined. Moreover, nonfatal self-injury also burdens the Commonwealth’s health care system— there were 4,480 hospital stays (68.9 per 100,000) and 6,714 emergency department discharges for nonfatal self-inflicted injury in FY2008.
With prevention strategies grounded in the best evidence available, the support and involvement of all stakeholders, and the guidance offered by this plan, we are confident we can make significant progress toward the goal of preventing suicide and decreasing suicidal behavior in Massachusetts. Through joint action, using the State Plan as a common point of reference, the opportunity for better coordination and collaboration and a more comprehensive approach to suicide prevention should vastly increase the likelihood of success.
Data-gathering and outreach during the strategic planning process helped identify a range of issues, and the plan establishes a framework for specific goals related to suicide prevention.
The State Plan does not assume that a specific agency or organization has overall responsibility or capacity to address all, or even the majority, of these goals. Rather, this plan holds many opportunities for individuals, groups of people, communities, institutions, and organizations to make contributions toward achieving the plan’s goals, both individually and collectively. Collaborating and partnering with others can result in significantly greater impact.
Likewise, this plan does not assume that current state government funding will be the only resource for realizing these goals. Therefore, to ensure sustainability of all efforts, organizations must advocate for and pursue diversification of funding.
At the outset, an extensive information-gathering process was conducted to assure inclusion of a wide range of stakeholders. Methods included a survey, an electronic town meeting, stakeholder interviews, and a series of focus groups. Over 500 individuals contributed ideas and comments. The findings from the information gathering highlighted a number of common themes including:
In addition, findings indicated stronger infrastructure is needed to support suicide prevention efforts including increased public awareness of suicide and suicide prevention, more extensive collaboration among state agencies, consumer and survivor participation at all levels of decision-making, ongoing advocacy for public and private resources, continued investment in surveillance and expanded data gathering, and building local and regional suicide prevention coalitions and strengthening the statewide coalition.
The State Plan acknowledges the complex interplay between the various stakeholders in society that are involved with and, indeed, required for successful suicide prevention efforts. The plan is organized around a framework encompassing five dynamic and interactive.
Each of the five Levels includes a Theme, an Audience, Goals, and Examples of Possible Actions organized into one matrix per Level. Examples of Possible Actions are general and not meant to be exhaustive. While the plan does not address the specific targeted needs of all populations known to be at increased risk of suicide or of specific geographic regions or communities, it does offer two examples for approaching suicide prevention: 1) with a group at higher risk of suicide, and 2) within a community affected by suicide. The plan also presents a series of logic models for the planning framework.
Appendices include a resource guide and a glossary of terms and definitions used in the plan.
The collective ownership and inclusive nature of the State Plan is a great strength, but also presents challenges. For this reason, the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention will take the lead in monitoring, evaluating, and reporting progress and implementation of the Plan. The MCSP will work with stakeholders to track progress on Plan implementation, assess status and success of specific goals and actions, and solicit feedback on strengths and weaknesses of the Plan itself. The MCSP and DPH will develop an annual report on the State Plan to share with the state legislature, appropriate state agencies and other stakeholders. The State Plan and progress reports will serve as valuable resources for tracking and communicating progress and outcomes.