Impact of the Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Program

July 26, 2019
News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark Research

Comprehensive, community-based youth suicide prevention approaches, like the Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Program, can continue to decrease youth suicide mortality rates for up to two years after implementation, which is longer than previously reported.

Researchers compared 525 counties exposed to Garrett Lee Smith program activities with unexposed matched control counties on county-level suicide mortality rates among youth ages 10 to 24. One year after implementing program activities, youth suicide mortality rates were 0.9 per 100,000 deaths lower among exposed counties than control counties. Two years after implementation of program activities, youth suicide mortality rates continued to be lower in exposed communities than control communities. Researchers found that those counties exposed to multiple consecutive years of program implementation saw a bigger decrease in youth suicide mortality rates compared to counties with a single year of exposure.

Widespread and consistent implementation of comprehensive, community-based youth suicide prevention efforts could reduce youth suicide mortality.

Garraza, L. G., Kuiper, N., Goldston, D., McKeon, R., & Walrath, C. (2019). Long-term impact of the Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Program on youth suicide mortality, 2006–2015. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/jcpp.13058