Mental Health America of South Carolina
Mental Health America’s proposed suicide prevention program is a state-sponsored initiative that will implement early intervention and prevention programs in schools, colleges, substance abuse systems, mental health programs, foster care systems, and other child and youth support organizations. It is based on the South Carolina Suicide Prevention Plan, a state plan created by a public and private organization partnership. The project’s purpose is to reduce suicide attempts and completions in South Carolina for youths aged 10-24. Specifically, the program will 1) implement the Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) suicide prevention training in the schools, universities, and to community gatekeepers; 2) Provide crisis resources to suicide attempters crisis access points (e.g., emergency rooms); 3) establish Survivors of Suicide support groups in the counties within three SC regions; 4) create a Statewide Suicide Prevention On-Line Resource Guide which will include pertinent resource information for assessment, treatment providers, survivors? support groups and other resources for individuals and families; and 5) promote suicide education and awareness through a public outreach campaign.
With suicide as the third leading cause of death among youth and with the increase of 109 percent from 1980 to 1997, youth suicide prevention and early intervention strategies must be creative and effective in tackling the issue of youth suicide. The national average rate of suicide for ages 10 to 24 is 6.78 per 100,000 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). While South Carolina?s overall rate of 5.1 does not exceed the national average, specific regions within the state are in dire need of services. The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) divides the state into eight regions for service provision and statistical analysis. Compared to the state’s relatively low youth suicide rates, three of these regions have remarkably high rates. Based on the South Carolina?s mortality and morbidity statistics, the average rate from 1999 to 2004 is 7.9, 7.7, and 8.5 in Regions 1, 2, and 3 respectively.
Mental Health America will continue a public-private partnership with the SC Suicide Prevention Coalition, which has been involved with suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention activities since 2003. The Coalition helped develop the state suicide prevention plan and will serve as an ad-hoc steering committee to provide oversight and feedback to the project. The 23 local Mental Health America affiliate partnerships will be utilized in the suicide prevention activities. Additionally, project staff will partner with the University of South Carolina to deliver and evaluate culturally competent program content.