Washington State Department of Health

Garrett Lee Smith State

The Washington State Department of Health has led activities in suicide prevention since 1994, by providing epidemiological support, implementing best practices and promoting community based prevention programs throughout Washington. Initiatives, funded from the Washington State Legislature through the General Fund, have primarily focused on raising public awareness, training those who work directly with youth, and working with communities and schools to implement prevention programs. Our goal for this grant is to reduce suicide risk among high risk groups by expanding our efforts and building infrastructure to address the complex needs of these particular populations. Grant funding will be combined with the state support described above, allowing us to enhance our statewide presence and provide sustainable resources and tools to prevent suicide. Elements of this project include:

  1. Establishing and maintaining a statewide coalition focused on suicide prevention to help coordinate prevention activities and to provide opportunities for traditional and nontraditional partners to collaborate on suicide prevention projects.
  2. Convening college campus students, staff and faculty at 4 college campuses in Pierce County to implement effective or promising suicide prevention strategies;
  3. Implementing evidence-based suicide prevention strategies with one community based organization that serves at-risk youth and two Native American organizations

The Department of Health is the lead agency, providing key programmatic and evaluation staff for this project. Contracts are in place with agencies, tribes, and institutions of higher education as noted above. A contract is established with the Youth Suicide Prevention Program (YSPP) to support activities of the local projects and of the coalition. Several trainings have occurred at local sites and two Assessment and Managing Suicide Risk trainings were sponsored under this grant. Local activities are under way, with several sites working with work groups and local coalitions to implement their activities.