Virginia Department of Health

Virginia Department of Health
Garrett Lee Smith State

The Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) proposal, Virginia Youth Suicide Prevention Program (VYSPP), expands the suicide prevention infrastructure developed in Virginia under the previous six years of Garrett Lee Smith Act (GLS) funding. These funds will enable VDH to continue to provide consultation, evidence-based resources and gatekeeper training to youth servicing providers, and these funds will allow VDH to engage new audiences in our suicide prevention approach, including military/veterans and their families, mental health/substance abuse professionals, and primary care providers. The Campus Suicide Prevention Center of Virginia will also continue to provide valuable consultation, resources, and training to all 43 public and 115 private Virginia colleges.

The specific goals of the project are to: (1) provide state leadership to secure broad-based support for suicide prevention in Virginia (2) raise statewide awareness about risk factors for suicide and encourage help seeking among providers serving youth, military/veterans and their families; (3) improve comprehensive community-based prevention/early intervention programming in specific target areas in Virginia; (4) improve campus based suicide prevention and intervention at Virginia institutions of higher education; (5) improve youth suicide surveillance, needs assessment and program evaluation.

The proposed project includes state, community, and campus based approaches to preventing suicide in Virginia. At the state level, VDH will coordinate targeted gatekeeper training to youth serving providers (foster care, juvenile justice, mental health professionals, substance abuse, and primary care providers) and military/veterans and their families, promote public and provider awareness, and promote comprehensive community, school, and campus approaches to suicide prevention. Two sub grantees, the Crisis Center Bristol and Crisis Line of Central Virginia, will work in their local communities to build and maintain local coalitions, coordinate local awareness campaigns, educate and train school staff on suicide prevention/intervention, and train and provide resources to youth serving community organizations. A third sub grantee affiliated with James Madison University will direct the Campus Suicide Prevention Center of Virginia, working with colleges and universities across the state to build the infrastructure necessary to promote mental health for all students, identify and support those with mental health concerns and effectively respond to individuals who are at risk for suicide. The program will serve 525,000 Virginians in the first year of funding and 2 million throughout the lifetime of the project.