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Featured Developments from the Field: State and GLS Grantee Stories

The following items represent initiatives and developments from State Suicide Prevention groups and SAMHSA’s Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Grantees, and are shared as examples of what suicide prevention practitioners in the field are doing. Also included are key findings from the national cross-site evaluation of the Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention program, which collects data from all State, Tribal, and Campus grant sites. SPRC does not necessarily endorse or recommend any of the programs or activities featured; instead, we recommend that planning groups use a strategic planning process to develop a comprehensive program to address their particular community needs.

Preventing Suicide among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders 

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. A summary of Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act grantee initiatives to prevent suicide among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is available in the SPRC Library.

May 20 2013 - 3:26pm

Using Focus Groups to Inform Messaging

The Suicide Outreach and Support (SOS) Program at the University of West Florida used focus groups of LGBT students to help create a message and poster that would be effective with this audience. Based on the input and guidance of these focus groups, SOS created a “You Are Not Alone” poster which is part of the university’s comprehensive campus suicide prevention program. Other targeted posters and messages were created for student veterans and students suffering from depression. To view these posters and learn more about the efforts of this Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act grantee, visit the Suicide Outreach & Support website. For more information on SOS, email April Glenn at

Jan 22 2013 - 4:29pm

Developments from States and GLS Grantees

The From the Field archives capture the initiatives and successes of States and GLS Grantees in 2012. Some of the 2012 programs and activities featured in this archive include:

  • The Life Is Sacred Program in Oregon, which used data from a state-wide school survey to understand the role of risk and protective factors in suicide attempts by American Indian/Alaskan Native youth
  • Maine’s Youth Suicide Prevention and Tracking Toolkit, which helps schools track youth referred to mental health professionals for suicide risk
  • The ASK About Suicide to Save a Life app developed in Texas that helps users recognize and respond to the warning signs of suicide

The Suicide-Proofing initiative in Rhode Island that teaches parents how to reduce the likelihood of suicide by reducing access to lethal means and paying attention to their children’s moods and behavior

Dec 20 2012 - 2:39pm

Working with the Military for Mental Health

In Kentucky, the Kentucky Division of Behavioral Health, a GLS grantee, and the National Guard are working together on Operation Immersion with the goal of improving behavioral health services for members of the military and veterans. This project brought behavioral health professionals to the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center for a look at military culture that will help them provide more effective services to active members of the military and veterans. In addition to physical fitness training and combat simulations, participants received classroom instruction on subjects including suicide prevention, military culture, and traumatic brain injury. More information on Operation Immersion can be found on the Kentucky National Guard blog Unbridled Service.

Dec 14 2012 - 12:04pm

Preventing suicide among AI/AN youth

Researchers affiliated with the Life Is Sacred GLS Program in Oregon used data from a statewide school survey to understand the role of risk and protective factors in suicide attempts by American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth. Their analysis revealed the potential of interventions that increase protective factors to buffer the effect of risk factors. This approach is in contrast to the more typical intervention model which seeks to reduce risk factors. AI/AN youth who reported the presence of at least four protective factors were found to be less at risk of suicide attempts than AI/AN youth with the same number of risk factors, but fewer protective factors. This was especially true for higher-risk youth (that is, young people with a greater number of risk factors). The researchers suggest that practitioners be trained not just to recognize risk factors specific to AI/AN youth, but how to help increase the protective factors that will buffer this risk.

To read the article an article about this research, visit  and scroll down to The Power of Protection: A Population-based Comparison of Native and Non-Native Youth Suicide Attempters. Directly below the link to this article, you can find links to (1) an audio clip of one of the authors discussing this research and (2) a video on current efforts by the Life is Sacred program to strengthen protective factors among AI/AN youth in Oregon.   

The Life is Sacred Actionable Knowledge Product Suite [] helps educate families and other stakeholders about identifying suicide risk among AI/AN youth and enhancing the protective factors that can shield youth from this risk.

Nov 12 2012 - 10:45am

We Breathe Again

A group of filmmakers and suicide prevention advocates in Alaska used Kickstarter, a social media website, to finance We Breathe Again: Heartbreak & Hope in Alaska, a film project about suicide in Alaska Native communities.  Kickstarter provides a platform for people to both raise money and create a community to support their projects. As of this writing, nearly 300 supporters have donated over $19,000 to help finance We Breathe Again: Heartbreak & Hope in Alaska, a feature-length documentary about suicide in Alaska Native communities. The Executive Producer of We Breathe Again, Evon Peter, is an Alaskan Native and one of the project directors of Kawerak, Inc. Maniilaq Wellness program, a Garrett Lee Smith Act grantee. Additional information on this Kickstarter campaign and the film it will finance can be found at

Sep 4 2012 - 2:21pm