Maine was one of 14 states to receive newly authorized funding from the Garret Lee Smith Memorial Act through a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The grant will span three years from 9/30/05 to 9/29/08.
This funding will allow the Maine Suicide Prevention Program (MSPP) to move forward with key priorities included in the State’s youth suicide prevention plan. Funds will expand Maine’s youth suicide prevention program through instituting a comprehensive, community-based approach in three high-risk counties. The funded activities also include working with two colleges, sexual minority youth, and outreach to two Native American tribes.
Knox, Piscataquis and Sagadahoc counties were chosen as the sites for implementation of a comprehensive approach for two high school communities in each county. The project will be coordinated locally by three mental health crisis service agencies working with the six high schools in those school communities and other key local agencies, groups and organizations to develop a community-wide approach to youth suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.
The six schools will implement and expand the Lifelines Program (an evidence-based program that has been implemented and evaluated in 12 Maine schools) by:
- Developing Memorandums of Agreement (MOAs) with their local mental health crisis agencies and protocols for suicide prevention, intervention and postvention;
- Developing or enhancing Student Assistance Teams (SATs) and instituting a system for keeping track of and referring students who may be at risk;
- Training key staff members to serve as “Gatekeepers”; and
- Educating all school personnel about basic suicide prevention awareness and school protocols.
All youth serving agencies/organizations in those school communities will be enlisted to participate in gatekeeper training. In addition, several key agencies will be asked to:
- Develop MOAs with the local mental health crisis agency;
- Train/educate staff members; and
- Develop appropriate protocols for identifying and referring youth at-risk.
The MSPP will provide training for all involved in the project. The National Alliance on Mental Illness - Maine will provide Family Support Groups in areas serving the school communities.
New training programs will be developed/implemented in project communities including:
- A training for mental health clinicians and primary care providers on youth suicide screening and lethal means restriction;
- Survivors of Suicide support group trainings;
- Peer-led grief support training; and
- Children's grief awareness education for project schools.
The project will also help to improve collection and analysis of data and work with news outlets in partner communities to use best practices when reporting on suicide.