Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment

The Office of Suicide Prevention (OSP) in the Injury, Suicide and Violence Prevention Unit of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is coordinating Project Safety Net, a comprehensive suicide prevention initiative in seven Colorado communities. The initiative primarily targets parents, caregivers and other adults working with youth ages 10-17 in the following high risk populations: 1) Hispanic/Latino(a) youth; 2) lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning youth; 3)youth in the juvenile justice system; and, 4) youth enrolled in the child welfare system. The safety net will be made up of adults trained to recognize and respond to signs of suicide among youth in these populations. Agencies from the following seven counties and/or regions were awarded to participate in Project Safety Net: Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson (including Gilpin and Clear Creek counties), Pueblo, and Weld counties; and, the northeast region of Colorado (nine counties), and west-central Colorado (six counties).

Participating communities will work with a local coalition and with a subcommittee advisory council of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado; will create and disseminate cross-system referral and follow-up protocols for treatment and/or care of suicidal youth; will train gatekeepers in the Applied Suicide intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and the Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training; and, will work with a marketing specialist to create public awareness campaigns targeting potential suicide interveners.

Project Safety Net will accomplish the following four goals during the three year cooperative agreement:
Goal One: Build capacity at the state and local levels for providing culturally competent suicide intervention and prevention services to youth.
Goal Two: Improve the ability of adults in the community to respond to suicide risk among Hispanic/Latino(a) and LGBTQ youth, and among youth involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.
Goal Three: Ensure that youth identified as suicidal are referred to and receive appropriate services in their communities.
Goal Four: Determine the effectiveness of Project Safety Net and advance what is known about suicide prevention with youth ages 10-17.

The OSP will conduct process, outcome and performance evaluations throughout the cooperative agreement, and will contract with an evaluation team from Colorado State University to design and implement outcome evaluation tools in each participating community. By the end of Year Three, Project Safety Net will have a sustainability plan in place in each community, and evaluation measures will determine overall project success.