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Zero Suicide Healthcare: no more gaps


WASHINGTON, DC, USA, April 4, 2019 / -- More than 20 countries across the globe joined together today to release the International Declaration for Zero Suicide Healthcare. The Rotterdam Declaration is a call to action to protect patients, who enter our health system, their relatives and staff against the tragedy of suicide.

The World Health Organization estimates that 800,000 people a year worldwide die by suicide. Most saw a health care professional in the year prior to their death (view the YouTube Call to Action).

“The problem isn’t that those at risk are disconnected from the healthcare system, it’s that gaps exist that allow these individuals to slip through. Healthcare has remained unchanged, presuming many deaths were tragically inevitable”, said David Covington, CEO and President of RI International and founder of Zero Suicide International.

“For those entering our healthcare system, we should know which individuals are at risk, we should have clear treatment pathways available, and we should be ensuring they leave our hospital system with a safety plan in place that has been developed in partnership with clinicians, the patient and their family or caregiver,” said Dr. Julie Goldstein Grumet, Director of the Zero Suicide Institute at EDC, Inc.

Leah Harris, author of The Story of Change, knows first-hand how critical the way in which hospitals receive and support someone who is suicidal can be to their decision to stay and get help or leave. “Care should look and feel like care. But, clinicians often express a lack of skills, training and organizational support which can block the engagement and collaboration so vital for success.”

Gerdien Franx, Program Manager at 113 Zelfmoord Preventie in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, said, “too often blame, punishment or retribution result from losing a patient to suicide. It is extremely encouraging to see the International Declaration seeks to shift the culture to emphasise recovery, healing, learning and improvement.”

“New approaches are needed within our healthcare systems to meet the increasing demand for services. We need to improve quality and safety while remaining conscious of cost increases. Zero Suicide Healthcare helps health systems re-frame their approaches to meet all these criteria,” said Dr. Ian Dawe, Program Chief of Mental Health, Trillium Health Partners‎ in Ontario, Canada.

The Rotterdam Declaration outlines the key drivers for successful implementation of Zero Suicide Healthcare. It is designed for healthcare leaders, staff working with suicidal people and for governments and politicians; media; industries and employers; public health and suicide prevention organizations; persons with lived experience and their family/friends and scientists. Comprehensive collaboration is essential to move the needle and drive down population suicide rates.

To further support implementation, detailed resources are available through the US website

About RI International (d/b/a for Recovery Innovations, Inc.)
RI is a global organization that offers more than 50 programs throughout the United States and abroad, characterized by recovery and a focus on what’s strong, not what’s wrong. More than 50% of employees report a lived experience with mental health, and the “Retreat Model” crisis stabilization programs are featured in Crisis Now. The Company also provides training and consulting internationally and supports Zero Suicide International, a partnership with Behavioral Health Link. | |

About EDC, Inc. and the Zero Suicide Institute
Education Development Center (EDC) is a global nonprofit that since 1958 has advanced lasting solutions to improve education, promote health, and expand economic opportunity in more than 80 countries. The Zero Suicide Institute at EDC guides organizations in their implementation of Zero Suicide by providing consultation, training, and resources to make suicide care safer. Zero Suicide was catalyzed by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention in 2011. | |

Karen Jones
RI International
+1 252-772-2238
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