Wyoming Department of Health

Wyoming Department of Health
Garrett Lee Smith State

The overarching mission of the Wyoming Youth Suicide Prevention(WYSP) Initiative is the reduction of suicidal behaviors among the approximately 110,000 Wyoming youth aged 10-24. The WYSP Initiative employs a public-health approach to prevention, relying on evidence-based models, best practices, and strong program evaluation. Emphasis will be placed on stigma reduction, environmental change, and positive community norms. The strategies proposed are based on the State Suicide Prevention Plan and build on existing state and community youth suicide prevention efforts and partnerships. An innovative component of the instant proposal is a plan to utilize the five-step strategic framework model within targeted communities. This process will include local needs assessment, strategic planning, implementation, and program evaluation of comprehensive suicide prevention strategies.

The state agency responsible for the WYSP Initiative is the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH). Within WDH, the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Division has primary responsibility for implementation of program objectives and operational oversight of the initiative. The Division provides state-level leadership, funding through provider contracts and technical support for all suicide prevention and early intervention activities in Wyoming. The Division also is responsible for leading statewide media efforts and for providing training on suicide alertness and intervention skills training across Wyoming.

The WYSP Initiative comprises five key objectives that directly support the State of Wyoming Suicide Prevention Plan and the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. These are (1) Statewide Coordination and Leadership; (2) School-Based Initiatives; (3) Community-Based Prevention and Early Intervention; (4) Programs for High-Risk Youth; and (5) Anti-Stigma and Public Awareness. The initiative is supported by an active Wyoming Suicide Prevention Advisory Council (WySPAC), which includes leaders and stakeholders from across the state with a special interest and/or expertise in areas related to youth suicide prevention. WySPAC provides advice and consultation in development, implementation and evaluation of the objectives and programs of the WYSP Initiative.

During the grant period, WDH will work closely with an outside evaluator from the University of Wyoming, Wyoming Survey & Analysis Center (WYSAC). WYSAC was created by executive order of the governor as Wyoming’s clearinghouse for policy studies and evaluation research and has a proven record evaluating state and federal prevention programs in Wyoming. This includes current evaluations of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act Program at the University of Wyoming. Their evaluation of the State and Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention Grant will include three data/program performance assessment efforts. These efforts include data and performance measures to satisfy GPRA requirements, cooperation, and participation in a cross-site evaluation and an annual self-evaluation of outcomes and activities.