The Silent Epidemic
Within the state of Tennessee, suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth (defined as ages 10-24). Unfortunately, about 90 Tennessee youth die by suicide annually. According to the 2009 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 13.6% reported seriously considering suicide in the previous year, 11.7% made a plan for attempting suicide, 7.1% did attempt suicide one or more times, and 2.2% made an attempt resulting in the need for medical treatment. The state suicide death rate is 7.7 per 100,000, exceeding the national suicide death rate of 7.1 per 100,000 (2000-2007). The suicide rate for this age cohort further exceeds the nation’s rate in two of the state’s three grand regions (East at 7.9 per 100,000 and Middle at 8.8 per 100,000) (CDC, 2010; TDOH, 2009).
Services/Training Available to the Community
The Tennessee Lives Count (TLC) Youth Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention Project is a statewide early intervention/prevention project designed to reduce suicides and suicide attempts for youth (ages 10-24). TLC plans to build on the successes of its first two grant cycles, by continuing its gatekeeper training projects but adding components related to youth access to mental health and crisis services and the implementation of postvention plans in schools after a crisis has occurred.
TLC will offer two-hour QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) trainings to professionals and community members who work with youth, two-day ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) workshops and one-day AMSR (Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk) trainings to individuals who work with youth in crisis situations and/or clinical mental health service providers, as well as a one-day workshop addressing the issue of suicide among LGBTQ youth for persons working with this population. TLC will also coordinate training for Emergency Department staff throughout the state.
TLC will also develop and present a Postvention Education and Planning training for middle and high schools, including a face-to-face training component for school administrators and staff on how to respond in the unfortunate event of the suicide death of student or staff. In addition, the project staff will provide at least twenty telephonic and six face-to-face consultations after a suicide death has occurred. As well, fifty higher education, tenured faculty and long-term staff will receive certification as QPR instructors who will in turn train others within their campus community in the program. All of these efforts will serve to enhance the safety net for youth at risk of suicide.
Project outcomes will result in 100 individuals receiving the ASIST gatekeeper training; 1500 members of the community-based programs/organizations to be trained in the QPR gatekeeper training; 50 tenured college/university faculty to be certified as QPR instructors who will each in turn train 250 individuals on their campus (project total 12,500); 100 clinical mental health service providers will be trained in AMSR; 50 middle/high schools will receive Postvention Education and Planning training; 100 Emergency Department staff will be trained in Suicide Awareness and Prevention in the ER Setting; and 200 individuals who work with youth will complete the training, Suicide Prevention Among LGBT Youth: A Workshop for Professionals Who Serve Youth.