In addition to creating suicide prevention messages that are strategic, safe, and contribute to a Positive Narrative about suicide prevention, it is important to follow specific guidelines or recommendations that apply to your particular messages. After planning your Strategy, use the selection menu below to see Guidelines related to various goals, populations, channels, topics and other areas that may relate to your communications plan.

The Guidelines listed here address specific areas—in other words, they’ll be useful in developing some kinds of messages but not others. For example, if  your plan includes using a video, you can consult the “AAS Criteria for Educational Videos on Youth Suicide.” If you are a suicide loss or attempt survivor planning to tell your story to the public, you can refer to “Special considerations for telling your own story: Best practices for presentations by suicide loss and suicide attempt survivors.” For resources related to Strategy, Safety, and Positive Narrative, see those pages.

The Guidelines listed here are not meant to be a comprehensive list of messaging resources but offer a few best resources for key areas. If you can’t find the category you are looking for, we have not yet listed a guideline for that area.

Please visit the SPRC online library for an extenitsive collection of suicide prevention resources.

Graphic with a circle divided into three equal parts, labeled Positive Narrative, Safety, and Guidelines, encompassed by a circle labeled Strategy

How “Guidelines” Fits Into the Framework

The Guidelines component of the Framework comes into play after first thinking through your Strategy, including goals, audience, channels, and other key decisions. After you have your Strategy, visit this page to check whether there are any guidelines or best practices that apply. All messages should also adhere to Safety recommendations and in some way promote a Positive Narrative about suicide prevention by including actions, solutions, successes, or resources.

All Guidelines

Topics Category

10 steps to a more effective nonprofit website

This resource from the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) will help you develop a non-profit website that is effective and engaging. It includes a list of the top 10 elements of an effective nonprofit website, as well as examples illustrating each element.

Channels, Websites

2022 Public Perception Survey Results

new 2022 public perception national survey of over 2,000 adults in the U.S. to better understand the public’s beliefs and attitudes about mental health and suicide. The survey, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance), American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)—builds upon past surveys in 20152018, and 2020. Learn more at

Presentations, Public Speaking, Social Media, Websites, 988

A guide for speaking publicly about suicides

This guide, from the Australian Mindframe project, aims to provide some practical tips on safe ways to discuss suicide publicly, ensuring any risks are managed while also increasing the community understanding of suicide.

Telling Personal Stories, Telling Others’ Stories, Telling Your Own Story

A practitioner's resource guide: Helping families to support their LGBT children

This resource guide offers information and resources to help practitioners throughout health and social service systems implement best practices in engaging and helping families and caregivers to support their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) children. Research has shown that compared to LGBT young adults who reported high levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide. 

Populations, Families-Parents and Caregivers, LGBTQ+, Youth, Goals and Activities, Family Support, Topics, LGBTQ+, Youth

A toolkit for evaluating programs meant to erase the stigma of mental illness

This toolkit provides measures to help advocates examine the impact of anti-stigma approaches at the local level.  It distinguishes the stigma of mental illness into three groups: public stigma, self-stigma, and label avoidance. The toolkit outlines aims to help advocates evaluate their efforts in an accessible way, while also providing a common language and set of measures for advocates and researchers to discuss measuring stigma change.

Evaluation, Evaluation Planning, Goals and Activities, Stigma Reduction, Settings, Mental Health Care

Adding power to our voices: A framing guide for communicating about injury

Includes framing theory, message development techniques and vehicles for explaining public health statistics.

Telling Personal Stories, Telling Others’ Stories, Telling Your Own Story

Are we there yet? A communications evaluation guide

This guide from the Communications Network is intended to help nonprofits be more effective in evaluating their communications efforts. It offers solutions in easy-to-use formats to help you prepare your communications upfront and evaluate as you go along.

Evaluation, Evaluation Planning

Best Practices for Online Technologies

Developed by industry and mental health experts, this resource offers three levels of response to suicidal ideation or intent ranging from Basic to Advanced.

Channels, Social Media, Websites

CDC Office of the Associate Director for Policy

This portal provides information concerning effective prevention and public health policies and interventions, as well as the use of credible evidence of prevention’s impact by policy makers, health care and the business community. It links to the CDC Health Policy Series, a collection of policy briefs designed to provide practical guidance to state and local public health practitioners, highlighting specific opportunities for public health to engage with health care to improve population health. The CDC Policy Process provides a framework which includes domains from problem identification through evaluation.

Settings, Health Care

CDC’s guide to writing for social media

This guide, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was designed to provide guidance to help you write more effectively for different new media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and mobile phone text messaging.

Channels, Social Media