Rhode Island Department of Health

The Rhode Island Youth Suicide Prevention Program (RIYSPP)
Garrett Lee Smith State
Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Youth Suicide Prevention Program (RIYSPP) will implement evidence-based interventions in selected schools and community-based organizations serving adolescents and their families. The project provides a safety net for at-risk youth, instituting screening/referral protocols, gatekeeper training, enhancements to college curricula, and media strategies. Target populations include sexual minorities, racial/ethnic youth, military personnel and their families.

RIYSPP will focus on adolescents and youth adults, ages 15-24 living in Rhode Island’s “Core” cities. These cities are characterized by high rates of children living in poverty (15% or more), large minority populations, and other risk factors such as an over-representation of youth involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, higher rates of child abuse, neglect and domestic violence. The six interventions proposed are: 1) SOS (Signs of Suicide) in high poverty “core” cities to train a minimum of 340 youth, 2) QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Prevention Program to train a minimum of 1,255 adults, 3) the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Interactive Screening Program (ISP) implemented in three RI colleges/universities, 4) technical assistance to the RI National Guard and RI Veterans Administration to reach military personnel and their families, 5) integration of suicide prevention course content in Brown University’s Master of Public Health and medical clerkship curricula, and 6) one statewide means restriction media campaign. The objective is to connect a minimum of 460 youth with new or enhanced services over the three-year grant period.

In 2002, the RI Department of Health created a partnership of public, private and nonprofit agencies, and suicide survivors to develop the Suicide Prevention Framework for Rhode Islanders Ages 15-24 (The Framework). Plan recommendationswere developed utilizing surveillance data and statewide assessments of program resources, legislation, and state capacity. The 2005 and 2011 RI Injury Prevention Plans include Suicide Prevention Framework recommendations: 1) reduce the completed suicide rate and 2) reduce suicide attempts in three priority groups including youth 15 to 24. Recommendations for suicide prevention in the 2002, 2005, and 2011 plans were adapted from SAMHSA’s National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. The state plan was a three-year endeavor carried out by the RI Injury Community Planning Group Suicide Prevention Subcommittee, which functions as the state coalition. RIYSPP objectives align directly with the objectives and recommendations of The Framework and will be addressed through the following four program goals:

  1. Build state agency infrastructure and capacity to implement and evaluate RIYSPP,
  2. Improve coordination and delivery of suicide prevention programs in a variety of settings,
  3. Increase awareness that suicide is a public health issue and that it is preventable, and
  4. Expand and enhance state agency monitoring and evaluation capacity.

Anticipated number of people to be served: 5,000 per year, 15,000 over three years.