New York – Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene
Under the leadership of the New York State (NYS) Office of Mental Health (OMH) and with numerous partners and stakeholders, New York has mounted a major Suicide Prevention Initiative. Although suicide death rates vary across the state, each death from suicide is one too many, and prevention initiatives must be statewide. Many actions and foci populate the State’s Suicide Prevention Initiative and Suicide Prevention Plan. Among these, prevention of youth suicide is a critical priority and the focus of this proposed Youth Suicide Prevention Program. Within the total population of youth ages 10-24 in the state, several groups face heightened risk; youth in the child service systems (child welfare, foster care, runaway and homeless youth, mental health, juvenile justice, chemical dependence); Latina youth; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth; youth in military families; and youth at risk of suicide due to exposure in their communities and schools. These groups form our population of focus. The interventions we propose are to: 1) build youth suicide prevention capacity through regional training centers, 2) provide early identification/gatekeeper training for caregivers through these centers; 3) improve suicide risk assessments, management and treatment for providers using evidence-based practices; and 4) provide resiliency training for adolescents. Cultural competence will be built into each intervention. We will also focus on two other areas of need: military families and high-risk communities. To build youth resiliency and ensure cultural competency for military families, the Sources of Strength program will be delivered to Fort Drum-affiliated families in Jefferson and Lewis Counties and to the training center clinical staff. For high-risk communities with a recent rise in youth suicides or suicide attempts, Competent Communities/Schools training using the Lifelines curriculum will be delivered. This approach will effectively embed youth suicide prevention practices statewide through regional dissemination of evidence-based, best practice, culturally competent training. Through execution of this comprehensive youth suicide prevention program, we will serve an estimated 42,000 staff, children and families throughout the 3-year project period. The cry for help from youth at risk of suicide in our New York State communities is substantial. The proposed Youth Suicide Prevention program will help to save lives of these at-risk youth and thus improve the overall public health of New York State.