Suicide, Overdose, and Adverse Childhood Experiences Prevention Capacity Assessment Tool (SPACECAT)


suicide, overdose, aces circular intersection

The Suicide, Overdose, and Adverse Childhood Experiences Prevention Capacity Assessment Tool (SPACECAT) will help local, state, and territorial health agencies better understand their capacity to address suicide, overdose, and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Prevention of these health issues involves cross-sector collaboration targeting factors at the individual, relationship, community, and societal levels.

The SPACECAT was developed over the last year by a public health team with members from the Asssociation of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). The following timeline captures the SPACECAT development process.

4 phases of SPACECAT development from Dec 2020 to May 2021


As an internal collaborative self-assessment, SPACECAT benefits health agencies by allowing them to assess their current capacity to address the intersection of suicide, overdose, and ACEs. SPACECAT helps identify the strengths and weaknesses of an agency's current capacity to advance prevention in these areas and provides insight on:

Strategic planning

Technical assistance

Funding opportunities

Program improvement

Why Now?

Recent trends in behavioral health indicate an urgent need to address the intersection of suicide, harmful substance use, and their most common factor, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

Access the SPACECAT

SPACECAT is a tool that fosters collaboration, and it's available now.

SPACECAT Testimonials

Early in 2021, nine health agency teams piloted the SPACECAT. Public health professionals from Michigan, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Tennessee, and Jefferson County, Missouri, were some of the first to use the SPACECAT. In these three videos, they tell us how it worked, what they liked about it, and why it might be helpful to other health agencies.


Review these additional resources for more information about the intersection of suicide, overdose, and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).


The Roadmap is an interactive course intended to provide health agencies with concrete resources and examples outlining how to navigate the SPACECAT, why it is important, and suggested processes for completing it.

View Roadmap


The Glossary provides definitions for special terms and phrases introduced in the SPACECAT.

View Glossary

SPACECAT Capacity Scale

The SPACECAT uses a four-point capacity scale to assess health agency capacity.

View Capacity Scale

Prevention for the Next Generation: Addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences, Suicide, and Overdose

Guests Rachael Banks and Jessica Kroeker discuss why understanding the intersection of suicide, overdose, and ACEs is critical to helping individuals live happy and healthy lives.

Listen to Podcast

SPACECAT Notetaking Guide

The notetaking guide helps health agency staff keep track of any notes, questions, and comments that arise as they work collaboratively to complete the SPACECAT.

Download Notetaking Guide

Contact Us

Please email ASTHO's social and behavioral health team with any questions regarding SPACECAT.