ATLANTA—The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities’ (DBHDD) Suicide Prevention Program has unveiled the 2020-2025 Georgia Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan. This new document serves as a comprehensive update to the previous strategic plan released in 2015.

“We are excited to begin charting this new course for suicide prevention across Georgia,” Jill Mays, Director of the Office of Behavioral Health Prevention and Federal Grants, which oversees the Suicide Prevention Program. “In the wake of COVID-19, we are prepared for an intentional and thoughtful response to help prevent any rise in suicide attempts and deaths related to increased cases of depression and substance use. Our goal is zero suicide in Georgia, and the 2020-2025 Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan is our road map.”

A statewide work-group of more than fifty suicide prevention stakeholders collaborated for more than a year to prepare this new strategic plan with guidance provided by national and local entities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, Georgia Department of Public Health, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Georgia Bureau of Investigations, and Suicide Prevention Action Network-Georgia.

The strategic plan offers priority goals, objectives, and strategies to help guide suicide prevention efforts across the state over the next five years, and is designed so that any person, community, agency, institution, or organization interested in suicide prevention can take steps to implement the outlined recommendations. The Strategic Plan will also be useful for policy and decision makers to gauge Georgia’s suicide prevention efforts and determine future prevention initiatives.

“Despite the great work that has been done up till now, over the past decade suicide rates across the United States have risen by 30 percent and in Georgia by 16 percent,” said Justin Powlinson, DBHDD’s suicide prevention coordinator. “We all must do our part to reverse this troubling trend. Our hope is that this document inspires and guides your work, in whatever capacity you serve, to bring hope to the hopeless and healing to those in pain—to save lives together in the state of Georgia.”

The 2020-2025 Georgia Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan is available to download on DBHDD’s Suicide Prevention webpage.

f you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, call the Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL) for free and confidential help 24/7 at 800.715.4225, or download the MyGCAL App for your smartphone to text or chat with a caring professional.


The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) is the state agency that supports people with mental health needs, substance use disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our vision is easy access to high-quality care that leads to a life of recovery and independence for the people we serve. Judy Fitzgerald has served as commissioner of DBHDD since 2016. For more information, visit