Suicide Prevention

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth in the United States and the rates steadily increased over the past several years.  The CDC recommends taking a public health approach to suicide prevention.  This means addressing a range of factors that contribute to suicide and engaging a variety of sectors of society such as education, healthcare, mental health care, public safety, etc.  Using this approach as a framework for suicide prevention, the CT Departments of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) Children and Families (DCF), and Public Health (DPH), with the guidance of the CT Suicide Advisory Board (CTSAB), have established the Connecticut Networks of Care for Suicide Prevention Initiative (NCSP) and partner with Community Health Resources (CHR); United Way of CT-National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Provider; Manchester-Public Schools, Police Department, and Community College; and Eastern CT Health Network.  The Center for Population Health (CPH) is conducting the evaluation of the NCSP with funding from a five year Garrett Lee Smith grant that Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded to DMHAS.

Adolescent suicide map

Most suicide prevention activities in the United States are offered in schools without good information on a community’s level of risk. How do we know which school districts are at highest risk? Healthcare data can provide answers.

OneWord OneVoice OneLife - Suicide is Preventable Logo

OneWord-OneVoice-OneLife is a media campaign to provide information and help for people who are thinking about suicide, or know someone who is.

Predictive model

Who is at risk of suicide? Most individuals who die by suicide are receiving healthcare, but their providers often don’t recognize their risk. Advanced predictive analytics using data from patients’ medical records can be used to identify patients in need of help.

The Center for Population Health is conducting an evaluation of the Garrett Lee Smith Connecticut Campus Suicide Prevention Initiative (CCSPI). The initiative is made possible by the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act which was named in memory of Senator Gordon H. Smith’s son, a 21 year-old college student who died by suicide. CCSPI awarded four campuses and five Regional Action Councils sub-grants to implement campus/community specific initiatives aimed at reducing suicide contemplation, attempts and deaths of college students in Connecticut aged 18 to 24. Awarded campuses and community agencies work with DMHAS and its partners to assess gaps in services and implement evidence-based strategies appropriate for their unique environments.

The evaluation design uses a comprehensive framework detailed in the handbook, "Understanding Evaluation: The Way to Better Prevention Programs" which was developed with funding from the U.S. Department of Education (Muraskin, 1993). The model espouses three evaluation components: process, outcome and impact. The process evaluation measures programmatic activities and collaborative efforts at the state, campus and community levels related to expanding and enhancing the CCSPI. The outcome evaluation is designed to measure the Cross-Site Evaluation Tools required by SAMHSA. The impact evaluation component is designed to measure long-term program effects using the Suicide Prevention Exposure, Awareness and Knowledge Survey (SPEAKS)-S (Student Version), Suicide Prevention Exposure, Awareness and Knowledge Survey (SPEAKS)-F/S (Faculty/Staff Version) and the National College Health Assessment (NCHA).


Funding Source: U.S. DHHS, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, Center for Mental Health Services
Prime Recipient: Connecticut Department Mental Health and Addiction Services

Project Team

Robert H. Aseltine Jr., Ph.D.
Sara Wakai, Ph.D.
Elizabeth Schilling, Ph.D.
Eric Horan, JD, MPA

Project Partners

Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

Wheeler Clinic, Crisis Resources