The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation Youth Suicide Prevention Program
Garrett Lee Smith State
Northern Mariana Islands

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation Youth Suicide Prevention Program will utilize a system-wide, multi-strategy approach to reduce the incidence of suicide and increase access to appropriate suicide prevention and intervention services for youth and young adults in the CNMI between the ages of 10-24 years old.

The Youth Suicide Prevention goals include the following:

1) Promote awareness that suicidal and self-destructive behavior is a public mental health problem in order to reduce the stigma associated with being a consumer of suicide prevention or intervention services;
2) Increase system-wide capacity to deliver effective suicide prevention and intervention services;
3) Develop collaborations and networks that support common goals in suicide prevention;
4) Improve the usefulness of data surveillance systems to effectively inform suicide prevention and intervention efforts.

The Youth Suicide Prevention Program proposes to implement a multi-strategy approach to address youth suicide in the CNMI. The program will promote behavioral and mental health and wellness; provide suicide prevention education and outreach; provide intervention and treatment services for those at risk of suicide; and provide support for those in recovery from suicide behaviors.

The program’s measurable objectives include the following:

1) Increase community-wide support for the prevention of suicide and self-destructive behavior by promoting public awareness that these acts are a serious public health problem and that many of these acts are preventable;
2) Implement a state-wide campaign that promotes accurate and responsible reporting and portrayals of suicidal behavior and self-destructive behavior;
3) Implement a social marketing plan that promotes behavioral and mental wellness and reduces the stigma associated with accessing suicide prevention and intervention services;
4) Provide training for youth-serving agencies and key stakeholders (including educational institutions, foster care systems, juvenile justice systems, etc.) in recognizing the signs of persons at-risk for suicide and in accessing resources for prevention and treatment programs;
5) Provide training to increase the ability of healthcare professionals and staff to screen for at-risk indicators, identify protective factors, promote resiliency, and refer for appropriate services;
6) Provide training for clergy and community members in recognizing the signs of persons at-risk for suicide and in accessing resources for prevention and treatment programs;
7) Promote and support the presence of protective factors by improving clinical skills;
8) Provide comprehensive direct treatment to at-risk individuals including wrap-around and recovery support services;
9) Improve and expand comprehensive education programs and support services for survivors of suicide;
10) Implement a system of care linking youth-serving agencies, government and non-government partners, community members, peers and other appropriate stakeholders;
11) Increase collaboration with public and private nonprofit organizations;
12) Increase the number community-based support groups;
13) Develop and implement a comprehensive uniform system of data collection;
14) Develop a database that links and analyzes information on suicide and self-destructive behavior derived from separate data systems;
15) Measure the effectiveness of the implementation of the goals and objectives;
16) Utilize program evaluation data and analysis to develop a program sustainability plan.

The program goals and objectives will guide a data-driven process which will inform decision-making at all levels.