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From Classroom to Community: A Team Approach

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In August 2011, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded YSPP a three-year grant to pilot a new program From the Classroom to Community: A Team Approach to Youth Suicide Prevention. This grant enables YSPP to provide training, coordination, and services in the target communities.

The focus is on much needed prevention and early intervention strategies in three areas of our state where local suicides and suicide attempt rates for youth and young adults are higher than the federal average.

YSPP is working in schools and with community colleges in Cowlitz County, the Lower Yakima Valley, and south Pierce County to train school personnel and community mental health and substance abuse providers to assess, manage, and refer to treatment youth at risk for suicide.

Our goal is to empower these crucial gatekeepers who work directly with young people to identify more youth at risk, and to refer more youth to behavioral health services, so these youth receive the help they need.

School districts in the pilot serve a large percentage of Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, military families and low-income populations. Because many families face financial barriers to mental health services, YSPP will work with mental health and insurance providers to ensure greater access.

Progress Update

Led by Program Director, Kate Kenney, this pilot program is now in full operation:

Participating schools include Lower Columbia College (LCC) and the middle/junior high schools and high schools in the Sunnyside and Mt. Adams school districts. Student assistance teams are responsible for identifying students who are at risk of suicide and depression, and who could benefit from mental health or substance abuse care.

YSPP's Care Coordinators are working with participating school teams to develop, train, implement and oversee a student screening and referral process.

All members of the school teams have been trained in ASIST (2-day suicide assessment and intervention workshop), as well as a specific screening tool called the GAIN Short Screener.

Health teachers in the Lower Yakima Valley have been trained to use YSPP's high school and middle school curricula, H.E.L.P. and LOOK LISTEN LINK, in their classrooms so that students recognize signs of depression and can get help for a friend who is in trouble.

Faculty and staff in participating schools are receiving online training on recognizing depression and suicidal behavior from the program At-Risk.

Local community substance abuse and mental health resources are being identified to provide treatment for referred students. If a student does not have insurance or the ability to pay privately, this grant will cover the costs associated with the treatment.

The University of Washington is conducting extensive evaluation throughout the three years of this project, along with federal evaluation participation. YSPP is a member of the sixth cohort of Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) grantees and is providing data to compare with other grantee sites across the country.



In August 2011, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded YSPP a three-year grant to pilot a new program "From the Classroom to Community: A Team Approach to Youth Suicide Prevention." This grant (No. 1U79SMO60393-01) enables YSPP to provide training, coordination and services in the target communities, which have a higher rate of suicide and suicide attempts. The University of Washington is conducting the project's evaluation.


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