Delaware Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services (DPBHS)

Project SAFETY
Garrett Lee Smith State

Project SAFETY (Suicide Assessment Follow-up Education Texting for Youth and Youth Adults) targets youth and young adults ages 10-24 across the state with the goal of reaching this broad population through implementation of screening in a variety of settings including middle and high schools, university health centers, hospital emergency department, primary care offices (prioritizing Kent and Sussex counties), juvenile detention centers and in the state’s 24-7 mobile crisis service. Screening in primary care is a priority for Project SAFETY because data indicates that suicidal individuals often have contact with their primary care physician within a month of attempting suicide. In addition, implementing screening within primary care offices will reach a broad demographic (e.g. race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.) and increase the likelihood of earlier identification of not only suicide risk but substance use and behavioral health problems as well. To broaden its outreach to youth/young adults, Project SAFETY will introduce a Suicide Texting Service which is expected to be user-friendly and is the chosen preferred way of communicating by youth and young adults. Between broad screening and increased outreach more youth in need of assessment and/or treatment will be identified especially in Kent and Sussex Counties. Project SAFETY also will include expanding the staffing of the state’s 24-7 crisis service (for children) in Kent and Sussex counties to meet the anticipated increased demand once screening is initiated. Finally, Project SAFETY will provide the SPRC developed Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk (AMSR) training for behavioral health professionals across the state to enhance the assessment and treatment services for suicidal youth. The goals of Project SAFETY align with Delaware’s Suicide Prevention Plan (2013-2018) and support recommendations made by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its report on the 2012 suicide cluster.

The specific goals and objectives are:

  1. Increase number of youth/young adults screened for suicide and associated risk factors.
  2. Strengthen suicide competencies in professionals assessing – managing suicidal youth/young adults.
  3. Enhance access to suicide assessment/intervention and linkage to follow-up treatment for youth in Kent and Sussex Counties.
  4. Increase community supports and reduce stigma.