Washington Youth Suicide Prevention Program

Washington Youth Suicide Prevention Program
Garrett Lee Smith State

From Classroom to Community: A Team Approach to Youth Suicide Prevention

The purpose of this proposed project is to implement youth suicide prevention and early intervention strategies, grounded in public/private collaboration, in three regions of Washington State, where the local suicide rates are higher than federal rates; these include Lower Columbia College in Cowlitz County, Sunnyside, Mt. Adams, and Mabton School Districts in Yakima County and Bethel School District in south Pierce Counties.

We intend to increase the number of community mental health substance abuse providers and school personnel who are trained to assess, manage and treat youth at risk for suicide. We intend to increase the number of youth who are identified as at risk of suicide, and the number of youth who are referred for behavioral health services and finally, we intend to increase the number of youth at risk of suicide who receive behavioral health services.

One of the communities that we selected has a high percentage of Native American and Hispanic youth, another community that has a high percentage of military families and the third community that is experiencing dramatically high numbers of suicide attempts in their 20-24 year old young adults. We anticipate serving a total of 4,079 adults and youth throughout the grant period. In the first year we will reach 1,515 adults and youth primary through on-line and in-person training. We will recruit community organizations and private practitioners who will provide treatment for those youth who are screened and would benefit from a mental health or substance abuse referral. In the following two years we will increase the number of youth who are screened and referred to services.

Care Coordinators will work closely with school personnel-counselors, nurses and Prevention/Intervention Specialist to develop functional care teams that screen—using the GAIN-SS tool – and refer. Referrals will increase as a result of education in health classrooms – using HELP, a curriculum designated on the Best Practices Registry – so that students can recognize when a peer is distressed and k now what to do. Referrals will increase as more teachers are educated on the warning signs and strategies for getting the student to help through the on-line training, At-Risk, another curriculum that has been designated as a Best Practice. Training on youth suicide assessment and intervention – using the 2-day ASIST workshop (another Best Practices-designee) – will result in improved screening, a greater ability to disable a suicide plan and create a safe plan.