Rhode Island Department of Health

The Rhode Island Youth Suicide Prevention Project
Garrett Lee Smith State
Rhode Island

The Rhode Island (RI) Youth Suicide Prevention Project will serve 10 – 24 year old youth at risk for suicide through universal, selective and indicated strategies implemented statewide. Interventions target those populations disproportionately affected by suicide risk factors. The project will create a streamlined system for crisis assessment, intervention, mental/behavioral treatment and follow-up services. Over 2,000 students and 5,000 young adults will be reached.

Public middle and high schools, worksites, community colleges and the RI Department of Children, Youth and Families will coordinate and share resources with Lifespan, the state’s first healthcare system. Mental health services will be provided by grant-funded Clinical Care Coordinators at Kids’link RI for youth aged 10-18 and Gateway Healthcare Inc. for youth aged 18-24 no longer in school. Unique to the project is a novel streamlined crisis evaluation tool to assess self-injurious behavior with and without suicidal intent, both of which increase dramatically around age 12. The new tool is innovative because it assesses two highly related problems and in doing so may reduce unnecessary emergency department (ED) visits for mental health evaluations. Goals, objectives and activities are aligned with the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.

Goal 1: Enhance state agency infrastructure and capacity required to successfully execute all aspects of the proposed project, including program implementation and evaluation, for grant period 2014-2019 and beyond.
Goal 2: Implement and evaluate RI’s first multifaceted youth suicide prevention program, using a combination of universal, selective and indicated strategies.
Goal 3: Implement a novel streamlined crisis evaluation assessment tool and selective intervention strategies for at-risk youth ages 10-24 in multiple settings.
Goal 4: Implement RI’s first systematic linkage of health and non-health organizations to improve continuity of care and follow-up for youth aged 10-24 at risk for suicide.

Expected outcomes:

  • Increased numbers of persons trained to identify and refer at risk youth.
  • Increased number of clinicians trained to assess, manage and treat at risk youth.
  • Increased identification of risk, referral and utilization of behavioral health services.
  • Improved continuity of care, follow-up and accountability for youth with suicidal ideation, substance abuse disorders and/or depression, or identified as at risk for suicide seen in outpatient mental health centers, hospital EDs and inpatient psychiatric units.
  • Reduced ED use for mental health evaluations.
  • Increased promotion of utilization of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.c