AHRQ Commits Priority Actions to Suicide Prevention


Suicide is an urgent and growing public health crisis. More than 49,000 people in the United States died by suicide in 2022. That’s one death every 11 minutes. Addressing this crisis requires a bold new strategy, so the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released the Biden-Harris administration’s 2024 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (National Strategy), a comprehensive, whole-of-society approach to suicide prevention. HHS also released the first-ever Federal Action Plan to put the strategy into action and drive results.

The National Strategy is a is a bold new 10-year, comprehensive, whole-of-society approach to suicide prevention that provides concrete recommendations for addressing gaps in the suicide prevention field. To advance the goals and objectives outlined in the National Strategy, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has committed to 6 priority actions (found in the Federal Action Plan), primarily conducting systematic reviews, producing two statistical briefs, and identifying relevant measures, to carry out in fiscal years 2024–26:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), and AHRQ will identify measures for assessing the quality of care provided to individuals with suicide risk, describe how they are currently being used in quality reporting, and identify gaps that need to be addressed. (p.30)
  • AHRQ will produce two statistical briefs on hospital and emergency department use related to suicidal ideation, with one brief focusing on overall use and the other one on use disparities. (p.34)
  • AHRQ will conduct a systematic review of the management of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in youth to identify effective approaches to reducing suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and suicides among this group. (p.35)
  • AHRQ will conduct a systematic review on mental health and occupational stress in the emergency medical service and 911 workforce. (p. 40)
  • AHRQ will conduct a systematic review on nonpharmacologic treatment for maternal mental health conditions, which will support the development of guidelines for improving maternal outcomes, including reducing suicide. (p.40)
  • AHRQ will conduct a systematic review on psychosocial and pharmacologic interventions for disruptive behavior in children and adolescents aimed at improving health outcomes among this group, including the risk of suicide. (p.40)

For ways to share information about the National Strategy, see SAMHSA’s Social Media Toolkit for the National Strategy and Federal Action Plan. For more information on suicide as it pertains to integrating behavioral health and primary care, see The Academy’s Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder (MAT for OUD) Playbook section on Suicidality for treating individuals with OUD.