MONTANA: Promising New Youth Suicide Prevention Intervention Program to be Provided in Montana

June 03, 2016
News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News
State:  Montana

Montana State University

A new research-based suicide prevention program to develop mental health resiliency in youth will be implemented during the next school year in 11 schools across Montana, including in several American Indian reservation schools. Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) was shown in European countries to decrease suicidal thoughts and attempts by over 50 percent. This five-hour program provided to youth over five weeks includes interactive talks, role-playing, and resources for mental health referrals. “The focus of YAM is unique compared to other interventions for youth,” said Matt Byerly, head of the Montana State University Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery. “It’s not gatekeeper training, and it’s also not limited to an educational focus. It has important components that are meant to develop skills, including skills in emotional health, and the ability to navigate stressful situations. Other important components include building connectedness and empathy for youth with their peers.” The training will be delivered to all of the students in the schools and classrooms that participate, and the students will mostly be in ninth grade. In addition to providing the program to students in Montana and several schools in Texas, researchers will be conducting an initial study of this implementation to determine the program’s feasibility and acceptability for further study and then possibly implementation across the U.S.

Spark Extra! To learn more about YAM, read the journal article about the study conducted in Europe.

Populations:  Adolescents
Strategies:  Identify and Assist, Connectedness