Oregon Department of Human Services

Oregon Department of Human Services
Garrett Lee Smith State

Oregon’s Caring Connections Program will be implemented by the Oregon Public Health Division Youth Suicide Prevention Program in 14 counties and 9 Tribes. Project activities include: a coalition; community awareness campaigns; gatekeeper training; attempt reports by emergency departments to document patient access to community resources after discharge for treatment for a suicide attempt, and use of those data to determine the need for outreach; comprehensive high school based RESPONSE program; and evaluation. The nine recognized Oregon tribes will hold a youth gathering with educational, cultural, and team-building activities, speakers, and information to increase protective factors for youth. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among youth. The goal is to reduce suicide among youth aged 15-24. The program is implemented in the county and tribal sites by existing Prevention Coordinators. Site selection is based on four criteria: suicide and suicide attempt rates, letter of intent, and finalization of contracting elements. Prevention coordinators will implement gatekeeper training, work with schools to implement RESPONSE, and convene an existing local coalition to implement community awareness campaigns. Emergency departments will report suicide attempts and results of follow up calls, and use those data to determine the need for outreach. The project evaluator will work with the State Advisory Committee to monitor progress and plan for future expansion of program activities statewide. Expected short-term project outcomes include: increased referrals to care, increased linkage to care, decreased barriers to care, increased knowledge among clinicians, crisis response workers, school staff, youth, and lay persons, and increased social support for survivors. The Oregon Caring Connections Program, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is implemented by the Oregon Department of Human Services in partnership with the Association of Oregon Community Mental Health Programs, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Portland State University Regional Institute for Human Services, the Oregon Partnership, the Office of Multicultural Health, other advocacy organizations, and local care systems and educational institutions.