Washington, DC — In announcing the launch of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Department of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates named Brian J. Boon, PhD, as a founding member of the alliance's executive committee. Boon is president/CEO of CARF International, an accreditor of health and human services.
The Action Alliance provides an operating structure to accelerate a national response to suicide—a major and preventable threat to public health. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) formed the alliance with funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and input from many stakeholders.
The work of the Action Alliance is guided by an executive committee comprised of public and private sector leaders who bring their experience, expertise, and resources to the alliance.
"CARF International is honored to support the national effort to prevent and reduce the number of deaths by suicide," Boon said. "Suicide crosses all age, gender, race, ethnic, and socioeconomic boundaries. Our participation in the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention aligns with CARF's mission to improve people's lives and dovetails with our accreditation standards."
Boon pledged continued CARF support as the Action Alliance moves forward in its efforts to:
-- Update and advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. The strategy provides a framework for action to develop interventions to reduce suicide deaths.
-- Build public awareness and social marketing campaigns that can change attitudes and reduce suicidal behaviors.
-- Promote suicide prevention programs among groups at high risk.
Success of the Action Alliance will be measured by changes in public policies and practices and by fewer attempted and completed suicides.
According to the Action Alliance, suicide claims more than 34,000 lives annually in the United States, the equivalent of one suicide every 15 minutes. In the past year, 8.4 million adults aged 18 or older (3.7 percent of the adult population) thought seriously about dying by suicide, 2.3 million (1.0 percent) made a suicide plan, and 1.1 million (0.5 percent) attempted suicide.
CARF recognizes that many persons are affected by suicidal behavior, and service and support systems must be available to everyone in need. CARF-accredited behavioral health providers assess all persons seeking services for suicide risk. In addition, CARF addresses suicide risk in standards that are applied to service providers seeking accreditation for their crisis and information call centers, crisis intervention, crisis stabilization, or assessment and referral programs.