North Dakota Department of Health

North Dakota Department of Health
Garrett Lee Smith State
North Dakota

The North Dakota Department of Health/Division of Injury Prevention and Control developed a prevention and early intervention initiative for tribal and rural youth (ages ten to 24) whose risk of suicide mortality is 300% of the national average. The initiative is operating under the guidance of four goals:

  • Promote collaboration between and within North Dakota communities to create sustainable infrastructure and programs in suicide prevention for youth aged 10-24;
  • Increase public awareness that suicide is a leading cause of death among North Dakota youth and that suicide is preventable;
  • Reduce the danger and harm of suicidal behavior;
  • Plan for sustainable youth suicide prevention programming in North Dakota.

Since the first meeting of a North Dakota Suicide Prevention Coalition in March 2007, the Coalition meets on a quarterly basis to review the progress of six rural and tribal sub-grantees funded under the Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Program. The mission of the Coalition is to empower communities to create suicide prevention programs and to strengthen resiliency to reduce injury and death.

The Chronic Disease Section Epidemiologist from the North Dakota Department of Health assisted the program to evaluate trends over the last ten years and works with a Data Subcommittee of the North Dakota Suicide Prevention Coalition.?

The six sub-grantee suicide prevention programs are approaching their goals from a variety of platforms, including utilizing Boys and Girls Clubs, Students Against Destructive Decisions, a Medical Center Community Volunteer Program, and tribal tradition-based programs.? The six programs train individuals, school personnel, community leaders, and professionals for recognition of at-risk behavior and delivery of effective treatment or services.? They are working in schools and community organizations to present gatekeeper programs including QPR, ASIST, and Sources of Strength.?? The sub-grantees each work with local coalitions to enhance their program reach and effectiveness.

A collaborative program, the initiative involves partnerships among tribal, rural, state, and private stakeholders, as well as consumers and families.