Iowa Department of Public Health

Iowa Youth Suicide Prevention Program
Garrett Lee Smith State

The Youth Suicide Prevention Program is coordinated by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). Initially, IDPH decided to approach the problem of youth suicide through enhancing the existing system of mental health screening programs in schools. This was accomplished by working with partners at the local level who had a history of providing mental health screening services in their communities with one or more school screening sites. IDPH provides funds to 7 different TeenScreen programs that offer services to over 45 school sites. Through marketing, presentations and meetings, programs expanded their services to more schools and students, and screened over 2,500 students during FY10. Agencies housing the TeenScreen programs vary from community non-profit organizations (United Way and Siouxland Human Investment Partnership), to local school districts, and two regional educational agencies. Each program uses different community resources to meet the needs of program coordination, screening, mental health interview staff and referrals to mental health providers. Programs enter their own EIRF data for the cross-site evaluation into an on-line survey monkey system, which is then converted into the Macro system by the grant evaluator. Programs are also responsible for hosting an Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk (AMSR) training, promoting and distributing Primary Care Toolkits to primary care clinics, and distributing or training school staff with the More Than Sad DVD training series. A significant infrastructure-building activity conducted in 2010 occurred when IDPH joined 3 other states (NE, MO, and IN) to form a 4-state collaborative to bring the SPRC AMSR Train-the-Trainer training to the Midwest (Omaha). This collaborative led by Nebraska, shared resources to have 4-5 mental health clinicians from each state trained to provide the AMSR training in their home states. Iowa will provide the training to over 300 clinicians by May. The project epidemiologist provides data on youth suicide attempts and deaths as requested by local entities. In addition to the SAMHSA cross site evaluation requirements, the local evaluation team has simplified the process of collecting data for the cross site evaluation, provided individual program interviews to collect data important to each site, and implemented annual project and program evaluations. Local evaluation also includes assessment of familiesâ€‖ satisfaction with the referral process from screening to mental health providers. In the projectâ€‖s no-cost extension period, we are implementing initiatives approved from our carry-over request to reach more youth. These activities include: providing AMSR training to mental health providers, promoting the TeenScreen Primary Care screening instrument and the Primary Care Toolkit; training college faculty and students through Kognito’s At-Risk web-based training program; and promoting the AFSP More than Sad DVD series to high school student and staff and the AFSP Truth About Suicide DVD to college students.