Project Abstract Summary
The Virginia Youth Suicide Prevention Program, coordinated by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Injury and Violence Prevention Program (IVPP), seeks to implement and expand suicide prevention efforts statewide for youth aged 10-24 years, with special emphasis on identified priority groups of Black youth, LGBTQ+ youth, and middle school-aged female youth. In addition to the identified priority groups, Virginia will also focus on comprehensive suicide prevention efforts for K-12 and Institutes of Higher Education (IHE) students, juvenile justice-involved youth and youth in foster care, youth experiencing substance use, and Indian tribes. An estimated 328,840 youth will be reached in some capacity each year, with 1,644,202 youth across the lifespan of the grant.
The goals of this project are to: increase the capacity of Virginia’s system infrastructure to improve early intervention, screening, and assessment services to youth at risk for mental or emotional disorders that may lead to suicidal ideation or suicide attempt; provide better suicide care and appropriate community-based mental health services for youth at risk for suicide; enhance the VDH Youth Suicide Prevention Program’s capacity to monitor effectiveness of services and for research, technical assistance, and policy development; and increase Virginia’s capacity to improve its comprehensive, health-equitable, and data-inspired approach to youth suicide prevention, and recognize and respond rapidly and appropriately to suicide risk among youth. Interventions and strategies used will include early intervention, screening, and assessment services; linkages to care; development of curriculum delivery and training, standards of care, and postvention plans to support comprehensive suicide prevention; enhanced data collection, monitoring, and analysis; efforts to reduce access to lethal means; collaboration with youth advisors and people with lived experience; and continued or new partnerships with other state agencies, health systems, and community organizations statewide.
Over the five-year project period, the objectives are to: ¿ Support 134 school divisions to adopt the Virginia Department of Education Suicide Prevention Guidelines; ¿ Provide 36,346 IHE first-year students with access to comprehensive mental health services; ¿ Train staff in juvenile justice environments using evidence-based suicide prevention curriculum to reach 650 youth in correctional facilities; ¿ Provide mental health services, suicide risk screening, and linkages of care in 3 comprehensive harm reduction sites with planned expansion; ¿ Champion trauma-informed care through training healthcare providers in suicide prevention for 5,300 Virginia youth in foster care, including 778 unaccompanied refugee minors; ¿ Implement and progress Zero Suicide frameworks with the goal of reaching 110 hospitals; ¿ Collect and analyze data on 100% of Virginia suicide prevention strategies; ¿ Facilitate postvention services for Virginia families who have been impacted by suicide; ¿ Reduce access to lethal means through Virginia Lock Your Meds initiatives, Safe Storage map development, and suicide hotspot mapping to improve in environmental infrastructure; and ¿ Build collaborations within the Virginia Suicide Prevention Interagency Advisory Group to establish relationships with the Virginia Indian, Latino, African American, and LGBTQ+ Advisory Boards, youth advisors, and people with lived experience.