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) helps 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 in 2020 by a public health team with members from the Association 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, national administration, and dissemination of results process.

Phases of SPACECAT development


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


SPACECAT is a tool that fosters collaboration, and it's available now.
Please refer to the following supplemental materials if your health agency is interested in completing the SPACECAT:


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 the Roadmap


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

View the Glossary

SPACECAT Capacity Scale

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

View the Capacity Scale

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 the Guide

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.


SPACECAT was sent to 59 state and territorial/freely-associated state health agencies between October 25, 2021, and January 7, 2022. 73% responded.


Review the additional resources for more information about the intersection of suicide, overdose, and ACEs.

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 National Webinar

ASTHO held a national webinar that presented ways to leverage SPACECAT data toward actionable capacity building.

View the Webinar Recording
Access the Presentation Slides

SPACECAT National Report

The national report displays state, territorial, and freely associated state SPACECAT results.

Explore the Results

SPACECAT Infographic

This infographic highlights the national-level results from the SPACECAT.

View the Infographic

Capacity Elements Toolkit

The toolkit includes beginner, intermediate, and advanced recommendations and additional resources for each capacity element.

View the Toolkit

Leveraging the SPACECAT: An Island Areas Resource

This ASTHOReport provides an overview of the SPACECAT regional data for island areas, paired with foundational first steps to improve capacity in key opportunities for growth.

View the Report

Suicide Data Indicators Dashboard & Report

The suicide data indicator explorer and the report explain the risk and protective factors related to suicide prevention.

View the Indicators

Building Capacity to Navigate the Prevention of Suicide, Overdose, and Adverse Childhood Experiences

ASTHO’s SPACECAT Capacity Elements Toolkit simplifies action ideas for health agency staff and leadership to begin or continue their efforts.

View the Blog Post

Contact Us

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


This project was made possible by the OT18-1802 Cooperative Agreement, award #6 NU38OT000290-04-01 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.