Tony Coder, Executive director of Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation Profile

Tony Coder
Executive director
Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation

Tony Coder, Executive director of Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation Certificate

“Make business more social to lower suicide rates”

The Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation (OSPF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing suicide. They aim to reduce the stigma surrounding suicide, promote effective prevention strategies, and increase awareness of the various factors that contribute to suicide. In Ohio alone, five people die by suicide every day, while nationally, an average of 130 people die by suicide each day, explains Tony Coder, Executive director of the organization. By establishing a support system and addressing issues early on, there is a better chance of long-term success for individuals and their families, he adds.

Tony, who coaches little league baseball in his spare time, believes that coaching individuals and managing employees should follow the same principle of bringing out the best in them. He has found that coaching people on to improve productivity than being strict yields better results. He recalls an old supervisor, who taught him that ‘no one wants to fail,’ so he strives to help people adopt a success-oriented perspective, leading to achievements for both the employee and the organization.

The Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation fosters a culture of honesty and openness, which can be intimidating for newcomers. They prioritize treating others respectfully and avoid personal attacks, but also to be honest in their interactions with one another. They also believe in addressing issues promptly to prevent them from becoming bigger problems.

OSPF looks for individuals who think outside the box, are innovative, and have a strong drive to succeed. Their work is crucial as it involves saving lives by raising awareness about suicide and mental health risks. However, they also aim to transform systems and make mental health care accessible to everyone. They prioritize innovation and creativity in their approach and value employees who are empathetic problem solvers. Furthermore, self-care is emphasized, as they believe that taking care of oneself is essential in order to effectively care for others.

The team has regular meetings and reports, but they also prioritize collaboration and teamwork instead of working independently. They work in a challenging field, so they promote a positive environment and focus on the positive outcomes they can achieve. They refer to their work as "hope work" and have messages of hope and their values displayed on their office walls. Each employee is allowed to personalize their workspace to enhance their creativity and comfort.

The organization works with families who have lost someone to suicide or have a loved one struggling with severe mental health issues. They prioritize taking care of these families as their main focus. They also recognize the importance of working with other systems, such as healthcare, education, the legislature, and other partners to develop tools and resources for those experiencing mental health crises. They recently released an Employer Toolkit to help companies support their employees' mental health, which can lead to improved productivity and attendance, while also giving employees the understanding that the company also cares about them as individuals, as well as associates in the company.

Since the main goal of this organization is to improve mental health care and reduce the number of suicides, they aim to be so effective that they can eventually put themselves out of business, which is a lofty-goal to eliminate stigma around mental health and give everyone immediate care when struggling with mental health or suicidal thoughts.Building alliances and connections with other groups is a priority for them since it enables them to attract support and funding.Locally, they have had success growing their audience, and to boost credibility and influence, they have even teamed up with well-known groups like the Cincinnati Reds.

OSPF is in an environment where they don’t really have “competitors,” but they do things with a focus on mental health system change, advocacy, and working with families who need care. Most other organizations do a lot of awareness work, which is needed, but to truly reduce suicide, it must be done through systems-change work.

Above all, they are actively seeking to broaden their sources of funding to reduce their dependence on government funding. This includes seeking unrestricted funding from corporations and individual donors. Additionally, they recognize the growing demand for mental health services and have devised a plan to extend their reach to underserved communities and engage with entities that have not traditionally been involved in discussions surrounding mental health. They work in collaboration with 35 public and private partners to develop and implement the state plan for Ohio for the years 2024–2026.


Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation


Tony Coder
Executive director
Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation


The Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation (OSPF), is a non-profit 501 (C)(3) whose mission, since 2005, is to serve Ohio as a focus and a catalyst for suicide prevention efforts and to bring about change in attitudes and perceptions regarding the stigma attached to suicide, mental illness, alcohol and drug abuse, and addiction. The foundation does not provide direct services to people but is a resource for professionals and agencies that do.

Inspiring Leaders Magazine 2023