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SAMHSA Press Releases

Date: May 17 , 2006
Media Contact: SAMHSA Press
Telephone: 240-276-2130



SAMHSA Awards $ 9.6 Million for Youth Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention Programs


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Administrator Charles Curie today announced almost $9.6 million over three years for eight new grants to support national suicide prevention efforts. He made the announcement at a hearing on suicide prevention in American Indian/Alaska Native communities at the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. The first year grant total is almost $3.2 million. This grant program is authorized under the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, which provides funding for programs to combat suicide.

“For far too long suicide prevention is an issue that was ignored. Now we are taking action and I have made suicide prevention a priority at SAMHSA,” Curie said “As a result of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, SAMHSA is now working with state and local governments and community providers to stem the number of youth suicides in our country. Each of these new grantees will help fill a significant need in their community.”

Nationally, an estimated 900,000 youth had made a plan to commit suicide during their worst or most recent episode of major depression, and 712,000 attempted suicide during such an episode. The data are from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which asked youth ages 12-17 about symptoms of depression, including thoughts about death or suicide.

Further grants will be awarded this year under announcements of available funding for campus suicide prevention grants, state-sponsored suicide prevention and post-hurricane Katrina suicide prevention.

The eight grants announced today will be administered by SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services to the following:


Maniilaq Association -- $400,000 in the first year and similar amounts in subsequent years to provide a variety of prevention approaches to a region that has one of highest youth suicide rates in the world. The project will include both a cultural and educational component. A media campaign will help to underscore the fact that suicide is preventable and unacceptable within an Inupiat (an Alaska Native culture) context. A cultural renewal film project will enhance cultural continuity and increase youth resilience-- two factors linked to lower suicide rates. The educational component will focus on school and community prevention training and will increase community level protective factors and decrease risk factor.


United American Indian Involvement, Inc., -- $400,000 in the first year and similar amounts in subsequent years to implement a Youth Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention Project targeting American Indian and Alaska Native children and youth ages 10-24 in Los Angeles County. The program will collaborate with other agencies, providers and organization to share information and resources by promoting awareness that suicide is preventable. The program will develop a culturally appropriate youth suicide prevention and intervention effort to include screening, gatekeeper training, and enhanced, accessible crisis services and referrals sources.


Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addictions Services -- $400,000 in the first year and similar amounts in subsequent years to collaborate with several providers and agencies to support the existing youth suicide infrastructure. This support will include the implementation of the Signs of Suicide (SOS) program; an expansion of a training program targeting foster and adoptive parents, school nurses, parent/teacher organizations, youth service bureaus, and juvenile justice personnel. This collaboration will increase the availability, accessibility, and linkages to mental health treatment services in school- based and community- based hospital clinics.


Idaho State University -- $400,000 in the first year and similar amounts in subsequent years to reduce suicide attempts and completions among Idaho youth ages 10-24, regardless of ethnic or racial heritage by implementing a public/private partnership. The partnership will utilize cultural best practices; provide statewide suicide prevention referral sources; develop low-cost campaign materials to increase awareness; and create a system for providing information and statistics on youth suicide in Idaho.


Montana Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council -- $390,751 in the first year and similar amounts in subsequent years to increase tribal awareness of suicide-related issues, reduce suicidal behavior among tribal youth, and improve access to suicide prevention services for American Indian people. This project will bring prevention efforts to six Montana and Wyoming American Indian Reservations, serving the Blackfeet, Crow, Northern Cheyenne, Fort Peck, Fort Belknap and Wind River populations.


Oregon Department of Human Services -- $400,000 in the first year and similar amounts in subsequent years to reduce suicide among youth ages 10-24. The program will be implemented in Lane County, Josephine County, Jackson County; Baker County, Umatilla County, Union County, and Wallowa County, and at the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation. Expected short-term outcomes include: increased referrals to care; increased linkage to care; decreased barriers to care; increased knowledge among clinicians, crisis response workers, school staff, youth, and lay persons; and increased social support for survivors.


University of Utah-- $400,000 in the first year and similar amounts in subsequent years to expand family-centered suicide prevention services and evaluate service outcomes in the juvenile court system for all youth assigned to probation. The project will improve mental health status of juvenile offenders and decrease suicide risk factors; improve recidivism and suppression rates through family-centered prevention services; and improve source allocations for mental health services. The objective is to increase employment, school enrollment, family stability, access to services, and social support, and decrease involvement with the criminal justice system and utilization of psychiatric inpatient beds.


Mental Health Association of Milwaukee City -- $399,745 in the first year and similar amounts in subsequent years to develop culturally sensitive, cross systems and consumer- inclusive projects in 10 communities with elevated risk of youth suicide. The project will build an infrastructure and increase capacity to support the development of further projects. This process will educate and identify at-risk groups in their communities, focusing particular attention on three targeted populations with elevated risk for suicide, including: Native American youth; youth who are deaf; and youth in rural areas. The project includes 55 local entities and four tribes.




SAMHSA, is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is responsible for improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation’s substance abuse prevention, addictions, treatment, and mental health services delivery system.



SAMHSA is An Agency of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Service