Humans appear to be the only species on the planet that kill themselves, which is the apparent result of the unique properties of language and the fact that other humans are the principal predator and the principal source of safety in our lives. Last year, three times as many America’s died from suicide as died at the height of the polio epidemic in the 1950s: 36,000 deaths from suicide, versus 3,000 from polio.
A public-health approach across the lifespan is required to reduce this terrible suffering and injury. A public-health campaign is less about the warning signs of suicide than specific actions that disable the “pump handle” to the wells of despair that result in suicidality.
This talk lays out four key principles from a lead article in a special issue of the American Psychologist on prevention, by the presenter and colleagues . These principles arise from the consilience of evolutionary, medical, and behavioral sciences. The principles are not limited to the prevention of suicide; indeed, they principles address prevention of multiple mental, emotional, behavioral, and related physical disorders as outlined by the Institute of Medicine .
This talk integrates these principles with low-cost evidence-based kernels  and behavioral vaccines [4, 5] that can operate as an integrated public-health model to prevent multiple mental, emotional, behavioral, and related disorders . This talk specifically shows how several apparently simple strategies can be promoted to prevent suicide across the lifespan, illustrated by data and practical mechanisms with rapid results and cost savings for multiple-silos of government and the private sector. The net result is happier, healthier, and productive citizens of all ages.
Breakout #1: Preventing Future Suicide from Pregnancy through Childhood Evidence-based Kernels and Behavioral Vaccines
This breakout expands on the keynote with specific evidence-based kernels and behavioral vaccines, organization and implementation details for low-cost strategies that can avert suicidality 10 to 20 years later cost effectively. One specific strategy that will be covered in greater detail is the Good Behavior Game (which is being widely promoted by in the US and Canada), as the only early elementary school strategy with lifetime scientific data on reducing sucidality . Presently, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) is funding 30 sties to do the Good Behavior Game, with 28 of those being supervised by Dr. Embry and his colleagues.
Breakout #2: Preventing Suicide from Adulthood through Senior Years
This breakout explores what science we have that shows pathways for preventing suicide among adults of all ages, beyond signs of suicide. This breakout links the principles from the keynote with evidence-based kernels and behavioral vaccines that can be used in multiple contexts and initiatives. Policies and practices can be scale