Strengthening Suicide Prevention Networks: A Closer Look at Interorganizational Collaboration and Tie Strength

Suicide prevention is a critical public health concern in the United States, where it remains the tenth leading cause of death. The study “Strengthening Suicide Prevention Networks: Examining the Relationship Between Interorganizational Collaboration and Tie Strength” by Lauren Menger delves deep into the importance of coordinated efforts among organizations dedicated to suicide prevention.

The Heart of the Study

At its core, the study focuses on two primary objectives: assessing the cohesiveness of relationships between organizations involved in suicide prevention and identifying which relationship strength indicators are most relevant to different domains of inter-organizational collaboration. Menger conducted structured interviews with agency representatives from a suicide prevention network in a Colorado community, analyzing the results through social network analysis and various statistical methods.

Why Collaboration Matters

The study finds that organizations tend to collaborate more on sharing information and resources and sending and receiving referrals than on developing service infrastructure or coordinating training and screening activities. This is significant because the effectiveness of suicide prevention efforts often hinges on the integrated actions of multiple organizations. By enhancing collaboration, organizations can ensure that resources are utilized more efficiently and services are more accessible to those in need.

The Role of Trust

One of the study’s most striking findings is that trust was identified as the most significant predictor of collaborative intensity. This emphasizes the need for organizations to build and maintain trustful relationships with their partners. Trust enables a more open exchange of resources, facilitates smoother coordination, and ultimately leads to more effective joint efforts in suicide prevention.

Implications and Applications

For organizations involved in suicide prevention, this study underscores the importance of evaluating and strengthening their collaborative ties. By understanding which aspects of their relationships contribute most significantly to collaboration, organizations can tailor their strategies to improve cohesiveness and effectiveness. Practically, this might involve investing more in building trust, enhancing communication channels, or sharing resources more openly.

Engaging in a Network of Support

For individuals and communities affected by suicide, the study’s findings advocate for a networked approach to prevention. Engaging in a well-connected network means better access to services, more comprehensive support, and a stronger safety net for at-risk individuals.


Menger’s study provides valuable insights into the complex dynamics of inter-organizational collaboration in suicide prevention. By understanding and harnessing the power of strong, trust-based relationships, organizations can significantly enhance their collective impact on preventing suicide. As communities and service providers reflect on these findings, the path forward involves a committed, collaborative approach to saving lives and strengthening support networks.

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