In 2010, Dr. Richard McKeon was the Branch Chief for Suicide Prevention at SAMHSA, and he was the master architect for crafting the task force that would publish the Suicide Care in Systems Framework. He paired David Covington and Dr. Michael Hogan to co-lead the effort.
Two years later, Dr. McKeon in partnership with Dr. Jerry Reed and the US Surgeon General’s Office led the 2012 revision of the US National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, first adopted in 2001. This included an important new addition:
- Goal 8. Promote suicide prevention as a core component of health care services
- 8.1. Promote the adoption of “zero suicides” as an aspirational goal by health care and community support systems that provide services and support to defined patient populations
During the 2010-2011 Action Alliance task force, Dr. McKeon made the following statement, which was a key turning point from an effort originally designed to uncover more evidence-based supports for the clinician toolkit to something targeted healthcare leadership.
Over the decades, individual mental health clinicians have made heroic efforts to save lives [from suicide], but systems of care have done very little.