Alabama Department of Public Health

Youth Suicide Prevention and Awareness Program
Garrett Lee Smith State

The purpose of the Youth Suicide Prevention and Awareness Program is to implement a comprehensive suicide prevention, education, and awareness campaign, increase access to services, and increase suicide related surveillance across Alabama’s resident and transient populations, via utilization of Crisis Centers, Universities, nonprofit organizations, and local and state resources. Alabama the Alabama Suicide Prevention and Resource Coalition (ASPARC), the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and three crisis centers located in north, central, and south Alabama will be engaged in this initiative, allowing for a dissemination range from the State level, to local and community level. This multifaceted approach will allow for a larger degree of community engagement and local buy in as well as a multiple exposure methods to Alabama’s populations, which suffered from 14.2 suicides per 100,000 populations in 2009, and have seen higher rates than the U.S. average since 1989.

An awareness and educational campaign, QPR training to increase the knowledge and self efficacy of individuals in recognizing and making referrals, educational sessions conducted in communities, schools, and universities, increased access to call line services, referrals, and counseling, and media exposure, will all work to increase the education of suicide prevention, and reduce the number of suicides in Alabama. These initiatives will include conducting a minimum of 72 educational sessions in schools, communities, universities and juvenile justice systems and veteran’s organizations, training a minimum of 1,500 QPR Gatekeepers, increasing crisis call line availability, and lowering the number of students self-reporting suicidal ideation on surveys from 30% to 20%. The educational and awareness campaign will consist of message development, ten audio podcasts and a cell phone application. In addition, efforts to utilize social media, social networking, and local publications will be undertaken.

This project expects to form alliances with different agencies, groups, or organizations measured through MOUs, letter of supports, or contracts. Qualitative measures of knowledge and educational efforts will be measured through pre and post surveys. The creation of a web-based data collection mechanism that will be added to the existing infrastructure will assist with data collection for surveillance and follow-up from helpline calls and referrals. We expect the number of individuals reached and the number of organizations involved to increase each year of the grant. All objectives will be monitored for the entirety of the project for assessment and evaluation.