A Light for Life

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

The Project was formed under the auspices of Columbia University to disseminate the Columbia Protocol — also known as the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) — as well as to optimize the protocol’s impact through support for its users, and to continue to build the science behind the protocol. The Columbia Protocol 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 12 million adults seriously considered suicide in 2019 and more than 45,000 people took their own lives; that’s more than the number of people who die each year in car crashes.

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 Columbia Protocol can help anyone do just that. Its effectiveness and ease of use make the protocol a vital tool for suicide prevention. As the most evidence-supported tool of its kind, the Columbia Protocol 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 protocol’s use universal. We also help people integrate the Columbia Protocol into a broader suicide prevention program. That’s why we will:

  • Help you get the protocol you need for your setting, age group, and language preference.
  • Provide training on how to use the protocol.
  • Answer questions about the protocol and how to use it.
  • Advocate for worldwide use of the protocol to save lives.
  • Speak to your group or organization about the protocol 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.