Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Mental Health Center

Font Size

Surgeon General Releases Suicide-Prevention Strategy


Praise for the report came from a variety of other mental health groups, ranging from the National Association for the Mentally Ill to the Suicide Prevention Advocacy Network to the American Psychiatric Association.

"The old strategy of just setting up suicide prevention centers really was not terribly helpful," Darrel Regier, MD, tells WebMD. He adds the release today is "a more broad-based mental health screening and treatment approach, focusing particularly on depression, that is a much more responsible approach." Regier is the director of research at the American Psychiatric Association.

The new strategy's first goal, however, is to promote general public awareness that suicide is preventable. "We must remove the stigma of mental health and suicide," Surgeon General David Satcher, MD, said Wednesday.

Berman says, "One of the biggest misconceptions is that 'suicidal people want to die, so why bother?' Death by suicide does not need to be the way to solve the issues that are bothering someone."

The national plan would also increase suicide risk identification and prevention training for nurses, physician assistants, social workers, clergy, family and criminal defense attorneys, corrections workers, and high school teachers.

And doctors need to be better trained in suicide risk detection. According to the Surgeon General's office, among seniors who commit suicide, 75% had visited their physician in the month prior to their death.

"We know that the professional community is poorly trained in dealing with suicidal patients," Berman tells WebMD. "Training is crucial, or we may increase adolescents referring their peers for services, only then to have them get ineffective treatment."

The strategy calls on the media to portray staged suicides in their shows and films more accurately and responsibly, and to report actual suicides with less sensationalism. Suicide experts say that media exposure has led to "copycat" suicides.

The ambitious report would also include depression and suicide risk screening as a quality performance measure for health plans that are seeking national accreditation.

It calls on states, employers, schools, and other community organizations to set up "evidence-based" suicide prevention programs.

But Regier notes that it is challenging to determine what is effective "evidence-based" prevention. "It takes very large population groups to demonstrate whether or not you've done something positive in preventing suicide," he tells WebMD.

Today on WebMD

Differences between feeling depressed or feeling blue.
lunar eclipse
Signs of mania and depression.
man screaming
Causes, symptoms, and therapies.
woman looking into fridge
When food controls you.
Woman standing in grass field barefoot, wind blowi
senior man eating a cake
woman reading medicine warnings
depressed young woman
man with arms on table
man cringing and covering ears

WebMD Special Sections