Alaska Youth Suicide Prevention Project Evalutaion

Principal Investigator: Jesse S. Metzger, Ph.D.
This Project is funded through the State of Alaska Division of Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Grant #Tl17409).

Alaska has been consistently ranked as having the highest suicide rate in the country. This rate is almost double the national average, with approximately 130 suicides occurring in Alaska each year (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007).  Of particular concern are Alaskan youth who have significantly higher rates than the national average. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports, in 2004 national suicide rates among 15 to 19 year olds were 8.2 per 100,000. In the recent Alaska Suicide Follow Back Study, from 2004 – 2006 the average annual rate for this group was 31.6 per 100,000, over three times the U.S. rate. There is also a large ethnic disparity in rates of suicide as Alaska Natives account for 39% of suicides but comprise only 16% of the population. Based on this need, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration provided the State of Alaska with a Garrett Lee Smith, Youth Suicide Prevention Grant. The purpose of this grant is to enhance and expand suicide prevention programs and services to specific regions and youth populations where suicide rates are particularly high. Requirements of the grant include compliance with federal cross-site evaluation efforts that will allow SAMHSA to consistently evaluate all sites funded through this funding mechanism. The cross-site evaluation requirements and local evaluation is conducted by Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services (CHBRS).

CBHRS in cooperation with Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) and the Regional Suicide Prevention Teams (RSPT) will lead the evaluation plan for the Alaska Youth Suicide Prevention Project.  The evaluation includes:
  1. annual evaluation of statewide and Regional Suicide Prevention Team efforts
  2. evaluation of stakeholder (including families and advocacy organizations) feedback related to youth suicide prevention efforts
  3. full participation in the cross-site evaluation
  4. compliance with data and performance measurement requirements from the Government Performance and Results Act
  5. completion of the Campus Suicide Prevention Pilot to assess the degree to which campus suicide is being dealt with in Alaska's university system and to develop a suicide prevention pilot project.