Missouri Department of Mental Health

Show Me Zero Youth Suicide Initiative
Garrett Lee Smith State

The Show Me Zero Youth Suicide Initiative aims to reduce youth suicide through an integrated systems-level approach, which includes establishing a continuity of care model for youth at risk of suicide and promoting the adoption of suicide prevention as a core priority of youth-serving institutions, such as hospitals and schools. Through collaboration with these organizations, this initiative will effectively identify youth ages 10-24 who are at risk for suicide and provide immediate linkage to intensive services and follow-up care. An innovative data-driven surveillance system will document whether services reduce suicidal behaviors. Services will be focused on a five-county region in western Missouri, centered on Jackson County, which includes Kansas City, as well as surrounding counties with more rural areas. The region has higher rates of youth suicide, suicidal ideation, and intentional self-injury than Missouri averages. A multi-pronged approach will promote and support sustainable systems-level change while employing strategies from the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention that focus on treatment and support services. The initiative will place special emphasis on those at higher risk for suicide, including youth who have previously attempted suicide, 18-24 year old youth, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.

The overall aim of the Show Me Zero Youth Suicide Initiative is to reduce suicides and suicide attempts by accomplishing three major goals:
1) Improve the system of care for suicidal youth who use hospital emergency departments, in-patient psychiatric facilities, and/or crisis hotlines.
2) Improve the capacity of school systems to identify, respond, and refer youth at risk of suicide.
3) Strengthen overall prevention efforts for at-risk youth populations in other settings.

This project differs from previous suicide prevention grant efforts by taking a more targeted and intensive approach to addressing youth suicide, focusing more heavily on prevention and early intervention in a specific geographic region with higher than average rates of suicide. Lessons learned from this highly targeted approach will be used to inform similar efforts to prevent youth suicide statewide. This initiative will provide direct services to 2,000 individuals in year one and increase annually, serving 15,000 over the grant period, with the potential for statewide expansion. The project will be administered by the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH) and independently evaluated by the Missouri Institute of Mental Health at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The independent evaluation will assist DMH in assuring youth suicide prevention interventions are evidence-based and tailored to the particular needs of Missouri communities.