Suicide is a global health crisis that affects millions of lives each year, causing an immense amount of pain and suffering for individuals, families, and communities.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 700,000 people die by suicide annually, representing one death every 40 seconds. Consequently, efforts to prevent suicide and support those dealing with mental health issues continue to grow in significance.
Fortunately, numerous organizations are working tirelessly to raise awareness, provide resources, and ultimately save lives. In this article, we will highlight the ten best suicide prevention charities that are making a positive impact in this critical area.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a reputable voluntary health organization established in 1987, dedicated to saving lives and providing hope for those affected by suicide. The foundation focuses on research funding, public education about mental health and suicide prevention, advocating for public policies in mental health and supporting survivors of suicide loss.
Committed to creating an inclusive environment that combats systemic racism within the mental health field, the organization prioritizes diversity while collaborating with individuals, communities, organizations and thought leaders to promote mental health equity amongst underrepresented communities.
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a national network of over 200 local crisis centers that provide free and confidential emotional support to those in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Operating 24/7 across the United States, the Lifeline has been a leader in suicide prevention and mental health crisis care since its launch in 2005 by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Vibrant Emotional Health.
Vibrant Emotional Health, formerly known as the Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC), has been advocating for emotional wellness for all people for over 50 years. Through innovative public messaging, partnerships, best practices in mental health, and various committees utilizing expert guidance, this organization aims to reduce national incidences of suicide.
The Lifeline continuously seeks improvement through consultation with researchers and experts focused on suicide prevention and crisis response. To reach out and connect, Dial 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 to speak with a trained professional or you can send a text message to 838255 to initiate a conversation with a VA responder.
To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA)
To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing hope and assistance for individuals struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicidal thoughts.
The movement was founded by Jamie Tworkowski in 2007 after he personally helped a friend overcome challenges tied to mental health issues. Since its inception, TWLOHA has impacted lives across the globe by responding to over 210,000 messages from people in more than 100 countries and donating more than $3 million towards treatment and recovery programs.
Serving as an uplifting source of encouragement, information, inspiration, and vital resources for those battling various internal battles; the vision of TWLOHA is built upon the fundamental belief that better days are ahead – reinforcing everyone’s innate capacity for love while fostering strong communities characterized by hopefulness and resilience.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is a charity dedicated to creating a welcoming, loving world for LGBTQ young people. Their mission is to end suicide among this population by providing 24/7 crisis counseling through phone, text, and chat services.
The organization also actively advocates for changes in legislation and education related to LGBTQ issues at both the national level and within communities. In addition to their advocacy efforts, they conduct comprehensive research on LGBTQ youth issues with an intersectional lens.
Donations received by the organization have had direct impacts on offering life-saving services to those who need them most. Over the past decade, their advocacy programs have contributed to passing 30 bills and initiating 25 movements around the country that support LGBTQ young people’s well-being.
The Jed Foundation
The Jed Foundation is a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the emotional health and preventing suicide among teens and young adults. By empowering individuals with resilience, life skills, social connections, and promoting help-seeking behaviors, the foundation aims to create a culture of care that supports student mental health.
Established in 2000 by Donna & Phil Satow after losing their son Jed to suicide, today JED works directly with high schools, colleges, universities as well as families, friends and media outlets nationwide. With over 9,000 educational institutions utilizing JED resources and over 4.8 million students involved in its programming, the foundation is transforming conversations around mental health and mobilizing communities for proactive action.
Samaritans USA is a non-profit, non-religious organization that strives to provide vital services and support to individuals at risk of suicide. As part of the world’s largest suicide prevention network, Samaritans centers offer volunteer-staffed hotlines, public education programs, emotional support awareness programs, and more.
They serve people from diverse age groups, cultures, backgrounds and identities in crisis situations by offering accessible care options for those who might shy away from conventional mental health treatments or government-sponsored services due to stigma or fears around confidentiality.
Committed volunteers who come from various walks of life form the backbone of Samaritans’ service delivery model. The organization has dedicated itself towards promoting a compassionate approach to mental health care through its wide range of outreach and advocacy activities.
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP)
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) is a highly regarded organization established in 1985, dedicated to reducing the suicide rate and minimizing the harmful consequences of suicide-related thoughts and behaviors. With a vision of creating a Canada without suicide, CASP operates as a pan-Canadian entity, providing advocacy, communication, and education on suicide prevention while promoting life through resources and guidance.
As an agile virtual organization comprising staff across the country, CASP plays a crucial role in championing mental health awareness on behalf of individuals struggling with suicidal ideation. Additionally, CASP actively advocates for increased support from various groups including government bodies to address mental health issues by ensuring optimal quality of life for all Canadians.
Mental Health America
Mental Health America (MHA) is a leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting mental health and well-being as well as preventing mental illness in the United States. Through its B4Stage4 philosophy, MHA emphasizes early intervention and treatment of mental health conditions before they reach critical stages.
The charity works on multiple fronts, including community education and engagement, mental health screenings and research, advocacy and public policy recommendations, workplace resources for employees’ well-being, youth programs fostering peer leadership, and information and referral services through their Affiliate Network.
Committed to advancing an anti-racist agenda by promoting health equity, MHA recognizes the impact of racial injustice on minoritized communities’ access to quality mental healthcare. By focusing on continuous growth in this area through education seminars for affiliates while addressing discrimination stigma they aim to create equitable opportunities in receiving essential support.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a leading agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that focuses on improving the lives of individuals with mental and substance use disorders. Their mission involves promoting mental health, preventing substance misuse, providing treatments and supports to foster recovery, ensuring equitable access, and achieving better outcomes.
SAMHSA envisions a future where people affected by or at risk for mental health and substance use conditions receive care, thrive, and reach wellbeing. To advance its goals, SAMHSA utilizes advisory councils or committees consisting of public members and professionals in the field of substance abuse and mental health.
The Center for Mental Health Services National Advisory Council plays a crucial role in advising on matters relating to policies carried out by SAMHSA. The council collects information on various studies related to human health issues concerning substance abuse, mental illness, diseases as well as other aspects within SAMSHA’s mission parameters.
SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education)
Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) is a pioneering organization in the United States, focused on preventing suicide through public awareness, education, and support for suicide survivors. Established more than 30 years ago as one of the nation’s first organizations dedicated to this cause, SAVE strongly believes that suicide is preventable with the engagement and collaboration of communities.
Over time, SAVE has grown into a leading national organization that develops best practices for media reporting on suicide, safe messaging certification programs, evidence-based school initiatives like LEADS, as well as training programs for professionals and communities worldwide. Recognized as a Champion of Change by The White House and having received numerous awards including America’s Best Charities seal, SAVE continues its mission to reduce stigma surrounding mental health issues and better serve those affected by suicide.
Crisis Text Line
Crisis Text Line is a charity organization dedicated to providing free, 24/7 high-quality text-based mental health support and crisis intervention by empowering trained volunteers. With a mission to promote mental well-being for individuals regardless of their location, the vision focuses on creating an empathetic world where nobody feels alone. Anyone in the US, Canada or Uk can avail their services if they feel the need to do so.
As suicide remains a preventable leading cause of death, Crisis Text Line offers various ways for people in need to seek help including texting HOME to 741741, confiding in friends or seeking professional assistance from therapists. The charity emphasizes the importance of self-worth and encourages those facing dark times to reach out for support.
The Jason Foundation
The Jason Foundation, Inc. (JFI) is a non-profit organization committed to preventing youth suicide through educational and awareness programs. By providing students, parents, and teachers with tools and resources, JFI aims to establish a Triangle of Prevention for at-risk youth. Their curriculum unit for students and informational seminars for educators contribute to this goal without diagnosing or treating suicidal ideation. Instead, the focus is on empowering individuals to recognize when young people are in pain and ensure that professional help is sought as soon as possible.
Since 2007, The Jason Flatt Act has been passed in 21 states across the US making it mandatory for educators to complete two hours of youth suicide awareness and prevention training each year. Together with state Departments of Education and Teachers’ Associations’ support, this life-saving legislation can be passed without financial burden.
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) is a nationally recognized charitable organization established in 2002 which receives funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and it is dedicated to providing resources, best practices, and expert guidance to support suicide prevention efforts.
Awareness-raising campaigns and educational materials produced by SPRC play vital roles in dispelling myths surrounding mental health conditions while promoting help-seeking behavior among vulnerable individuals. Additionally, SPRC drives evidence-based strategies that aim at reducing stigma associated with suicidality.
Collaborating with federal agencies, state governments, healthcare providers, schools, workplaces and faith communities enables SPRC to align interests for more effective prevention outreach. By emphasizing early identification of potentially suicidal individuals and improving crisis intervention services through vast networks of support systems – such as hotlines or therapists.
Teen Lifeline, founded in 1986, is dedicated to preventing teen suicide in Arizona by enhancing youth resiliency and fostering supportive communities. Through its peer-to-peer crisis hotline and suicide prevention education services for teens, educators, and parents, Teen Lifeline has provided crucial help to thousands of young people.
The hotline serves as a confidential outlet for discussing issues like suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, academic pressures, and family problems. With trained volunteers aged 15-19 answering calls between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., the hotline operates round-the-clock with support from Solari outside these hours.
In addition to the helpline services provided by committed teen volunteers who complete intensive training programs before working on the hotline lines), Teen Lifeline offers community education initiatives that include life-saving workshops for students (grades 6-12), training programs for school personnel focusing on suicide prevention in compliance with Arizona law requirements at no additional cost to schools or staff members.
Shout 85258 is the UK’s premier free, confidential text messaging support service, operating 24/7 for individuals struggling with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Established in May 2019 by Mental Health Innovations – a digital mental health charity supported by the Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales – Shout has provided essential support to over 1.7 million people in need.
The service employs more than 2,100 trained volunteers who handle roughly 2,000 conversations daily on topics such as relationships and loneliness. Shout’s accessibility and anonymity grant users comfort while seeking help during trying times; so far, an impressive 86% report finding these conversations helpful.
The alarming prevalence of suicide highlights the immense need for collective action to address this ongoing crisis. The fifteen best suicide prevention charities mentioned in this article dedicate their efforts to raise awareness, provide support, and conduct valuable research to help reduce the number of lives lost to suicide.
Supporting these organizations, either financially or through volunteer work, is an excellent way to contribute to these life-saving efforts – because every life is precious, and we must continue to work together to create a world free from the devastating effects of suicide. Please try to raise awareness on World Suicide Prevention Day which is o September 10th every year.