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Suicide rates are on the rise, how we’re working to reverse the trends

September 10, 2020

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While suicide rates have been increasing over the last 20 years, the COVID-19 pandemic is further threatening the mental well-being of all Americans. A CDC survey, conducted in June 2020, found that 11 percent of U.S. adults having seriously considered suicide 30 days prior to completing the survey.

“To drive suicide prevention, everyone must play a role,” said Cara McNulty, President, Behavioral Health & EAP at CVS Health. “As employers, health care providers and community members – we have a collective responsibility to do more to intervene at times most vulnerable for those at-risk of suicide.”

CVS Health is committed to helping reverse the devastating suicide trends. We know it is our responsibility as a leading health company to use our voice to raise awareness of these rising rates and to expand our existing services to offer resources and support for Aetna members and the broader community.

Our commitment

Aetna Resources for Living

CVS Health has made Aetna’s Resources for Living (RFL) program available to everyone, whether or not they are covered in an Aetna insurance plan. RFL offers real-time phone support, informational content, community referrals and support for basic needs. Individuals who do not have RFL as an insurance plan benefit should call 1-833-327-AETNA (1-833-327-2386) (TTY:711) for assistance.

Improving clinical processes

We are continually evaluating Aetna’s clinical processes and addressing gaps that previously would have prevented care management teams from reaching members who may be suicidal.

  • Implementation of a new patient safety screener (PSS-3) tool for all members who speak to an Aetna Behavioral Health clinician by asking a series of questions about their mental well-being to help identify at-risk individuals and connect them with support and resources.


  • Continued offering of our safety planning template to help prevent future suicide attempts in members who have been recently discharged from the hospital.

  • Ongoing “touch base” contact postcards sent to members who were recently discharged from an inpatient stay following a suicide attempt with messaging to let them know that they are valued, their life is worth living, and that resources are available to them. Aetna is the only health insurer to send this type of communication to members.

  • Continued partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide and Prevention (AFSP) to offer their Talk Saves Lives online training program to help recognize the warning signs of suicide.

"Knowing the warning signs and how to intervene during the most vulnerable times is crucial to making a meaningful difference in suicide prevention,” said Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer, AFSP. “By partnering with CVS Health, we are bringing critical resources and awareness to suicide prevention."

Learn about how you can support someone who is considering suicide in this guide from AFSP.

If you are thinking about suicide, know someone who is or need to talk with someone, we encourage you to immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 741741 to connect with a trained Crisis Text Line counselor.