Office of Suicide Prevention community grantees


Colorado-National Collaborative (CNC) Info and resources

The Colorado-National Collaborative (CNC) Info Sheet provides an overview of the Colorado-National Collaborative For Suicide Prevention.


CNC Overview

The Colorado-National Collaborative (CNC) is a partnership of local, state and national scientists and public health professionals working with health and social service agencies, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, businesses, academic organizations and Colorado residents to identify, promote and implement comprehensive state- and community-based strategies for preventing suicide. Solutions to complex public health problems, like suicide, are often most successful when government, businesses, health services, nonprofit organizations and individual citizens coordinate their efforts. This way, partners can channel their resources to the same goals, avoid duplicating efforts, and enhance each other’s work to produce lasting change.

The CNC utilizes a comprehensive approach because there is not one single cause to suicide, therefore suicide prevention will not be achieved by any single strategy. 


National Partners

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention
  • National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Suicide Prevention Resource Center
  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • Education Development Center

State Partners

  • Office of Suicide Prevention, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
  • Colorado’s Suicide Prevention Commission
  • Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center at the Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center
  • Governor’s Office
  • Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council
  • Colorado School of Public Health
  • University of Colorado Depression Center
  • University of Colorado Hospital and School of Medicine

Local Partners

  • El Paso
  • La Plata
  • Larimer
  • Mesa
  • Montezuma
  • Pueblo
  • Jefferson, Clear Creek, Gilpin
  • Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel


The CNC defines a comprehensive model for suicide prevention as a public health approach that is data-driven and prioritizes promising programs, practices, and policies for populations and settings across all age groups to include individuals, families, communities and systems.

The process of assessing Colorado’s needs and activities, creating a comprehensive approach to prevention, building county- and state-level capacity to implement chosen strategies, and sustaining and replicating the CNC process includes:

  • Identification of Colorado counties with high numbers and rates of suicide including demographic information (e.g., age, gender, county of residence, method, occupation) and other circumstances surrounding suicide deaths. Explore the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s data dashboard to learn more.
  • From this process 8 local grantees representing 15 counties: Montezuma, La Plata, Pueblo, El Paso, Mesa, and Larimer, Jefferson, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel) were identified and have joined the CNC partnership, and include both rural and urban communities.
  • Evidence-based strategy selection aligned with national best practices.
  • Systematic evaluation of the methods and community-based processes that support quality improvement efforts. 
  • A commitment to equity, using an anti-racism and anti-oppression lens for the purposes of building and supporting capacity at the county and community level for implementing CNC efforts. This includes involving community members with lived experience of suicide and mental health conditions or circumstances that occur on a personal, family, neighborhood, or community level. Specific priority groups who represent higher rates of suicide in Colorado are to be included in the planning of the CNC activities including: 
    • LGBTQ+ individuals,
    • military service members, 
    • veterans and their families, 
    • people working in high-priority industries and workplaces (e.g., construction, oil and gas, first responders, etc.), 
    • Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, 
    • American Indian/Alaska Natives, 
    • and older adults, etc. 


National, state, and local county partners, including individuals with lived experience of suicide loss or attempts, helped identify six community strategy components that make up the CNC comprehensive approach. These strategies have been modeled by the CDC’s Suicide Prevention Resource for Action, which provides evidence-based programs, practices, and policies that can be tailored to the needs of populations and communities.

Colorado-National Collaborative Graphic that shows six pillars from left to right. Pillar 1 Connectedness; Pillar 2: Economic Stability and Supports; Pillar 3: Education and Awareness; Pillar 4: Access to Safer Suicide Care; Pillar 5: Lethal Means Safety; Pillar 6: Postvention

The Colorado-National Collaborative (CNC) graphic depicts the 6 CNC pillars:

CNC Pillar 1: Connectedness

Connectedness is the degree to which an individual or group of individuals are socially close, interrelated, supportive, or share resources. Social and structural connectedness can be formed within and between individuals, families, schools, neighborhoods, workplaces, faith communities, cultural groups and society as a whole.

Strategies include policies and programs that promote behavioral health, social and emotional learning starting in elementary school, promotion of web-based resources, workplace policies that support inclusion, and other community engagement events and activities.

CNC Pillar 2: Economic Stability and Supports

Economic stability and supports refers to the level of economic resources and the degree of equity in the distribution of resources among individuals and communities. These supports may include the benefits resulting from laws and policies; improving available childcare and school options; adequate employment and living wages; access to housing, transportation and education.

Strategies in this category address financial stress, which is a risk factor for suicide, and include policies and practices for increased food security; affordable housing; family-friendly employment; and access to affordable, quality child care.

CNC Pillar 3: Education and Awareness

By implementing education and awareness efforts, community members, providers and other professionals will increase their knowledge and skills and improve their beliefs and attitudes about suicide, including that suicide attempts and deaths are preventable.

Key focus areas for training include high-risk industries, social service organizations, the legal and judicial community, faith organizations, veteran-serving organizations, LGBTQ+-serving organizations, youth-serving organizations, and older adult-serving organizations. Work will also include leveraging existing messaging and awareness campaigns, and partnering with local community organizations to develop robust and comprehensive policies and protocols to promote wellness and address intervention efforts.

CNC Pillar 4: Access to Safer Suicide Care

By implementing best practices for safer care, health care systems and organizations will see improvement in quality of patient care and reduction of suicide risk, attempts, and deaths for those within their system.

Strategies include the seven Zero Suicide elements described previously and additional strategies for primary care, mental health centers, behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment agencies, hospitals, and emergency departments.

CNC Pillar 5: Lethal Means Safety

Common across all six communities is the commitment to data-driven strategies, including those that address the means most frequently used in suicide deaths and attempts. Strategies include reinforcing safe storage practices (of firearms and lethal medications and poisons) through public messaging, expansion of the Colorado Gun Shop Project, and provider training.

CNC Pillar 6: Postvention

Postvention is the response to and care for individuals and communities affected in the aftermath of a suicide attempt, crisis, or death. Examples of postvention include safe reporting and messaging about suicide by the media and by or within affected organizations. It also includes caring follow up contacts after a suicide attempt or mental health crisis, such as the Colorado Follow-Up Project. Key strategies will ensure that communities are mobilized to support survivors of suicide loss, that positive messaging is guided by lived experience, and that safe messaging resources are available to a variety of organizations.


Data & Evaluation 

The CNC is currently in the strategy implementation and systematic evaluation stages of the project. CNC evaluation efforts utilize a Collaborative, Participatory & Empowerment model to best capture the impact of the strategies represented in the CNC framework. This process involves data collection on indicators and measures related to planning and implementation of community-based, health care related, and upstream interventions to measure their impact in the form of enhanced leadership capacity and sustainability, improved protection and decreased risk, and ultimately the reduction of suicide morbidity and mortality.


Current Funding
  • Colorado State General Fund
  • CDC: Comprehensive Suicide Prevention
  • SAMHSA: National Strategy for Suicide Prevention

Expired Funding
  • ASTHO: Suicide and Opioid Overdose Prevention Public Health Initiative



Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention
Email CDPHE_suicideprevention@state.co.us.