A Light for Life

The Columbia Lighthouse Project’s mission is to light the way to ending suicide. Our message, like the C-SSRS itself, is simple: “Just Ask. You Can Save a Life.”

The Project was formed under the auspices of Columbia University to disseminate the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS), optimize the scale’s impact through support for its users, and continue to build the science behind the scale. The C-SSRS is a key to ending suicide — a devastating, but preventable, worldwide public health crisis.

Worldwide, nearly 1 million people die by suicide each year — equal to one life lost every 40 seconds. Suicide is the No. 1 killer of adolescent girls and the second-leading cause of death among people ages 15–29, according to the World Health Organization. Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that in the U.S. alone, more than 9 million adults seriously considered suicide in 2013 and more than 41,000 people took their own lives; that’s more than the number of people who die each year in car accidents.

These tragedies are preventable if, as a critical first step, we can identify people who are most at risk for dying by suicide and direct them to the help they need. Experience and research prove that the C-SSRS can help anyone do just that. Its effectiveness and ease of use make the scale a vital tool for suicide prevention. As the most evidence-supported tool of its kind, the C-SSRS epitomizes the concept of “science to service,” providing a way to apply extensive research findings to real-world situations to save lives.

What We Do

The Columbia Lighthouse Project (formerly the Center for Suicide Risk Assessment) aims to save lives worldwide by making the scale’s use universal. We also help people integrate the C-SSRS into a broader suicide prevention program. That’s why we will:

  • Help you get the scale you need for your setting, age group, and language preference.
  • Provide training on how to use the scale.
  • Answer questions about the scale and how to use it.
  • Advocate for worldwide use of the scale to save lives.
  • Speak to your group or organization about the scale and its necessity and value.
  • Address fears and dispel misconceptions that people may have about asking someone about suicide.
  • Direct you to resources that can bolster your suicide prevention efforts.

Identify risk. Prevent suicide. Together, we can make a difference.