Rhode Island Lands $480,000 to Fund Suicide Prevention

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US suicide rates by region - National Hopeline Network statistics

Credit: Kristin Brooks Hope Center, 2009

The Rhode Island Youth Suicide Prevention Project (RIYSPP) will receive $480,000 to implement suicide prevention programs in select community organizations and public schools throughout the state, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) announced on Thursday.

Suicide is believed to be the second leading cause of death among college students and third leading cause among youth age 10 to 24, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Centers for Disease Control's  2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

“Many young people who commit suicide have a treatable mental illness, but they don't get the help they need,” Reed said in a press release. “This grant will provide critical resources for prevention and outreach efforts in Rhode Island to help reach at-risk youth before it is too late.”

The grant will provide the RIYSPP with necessary resources to screen, identify and refer at-risk youth, and launch a media campaign to help educate adults about warning signs and how best to respond. Currently RIYSPP operates in six communities throughout the state, but will soon provide technical assistance to the Rhode Island National Guard and state's Veterans ' Administration in an effort to reach military personal and their families.

Many early-age suicides are preventable with the appropriate intervention from those close to the victim, Mary Ann Camann, an associate professor at the WellStar School of Nursing at Kennesaw State University told JJIE in June, but often the warnings signs are ignored or overlooked.

“Look for people who change their moods from being happy-go-lucky or pretty stable, to having more volatile moods or being more isolated or sad,” Camann said.

If you’re concerned about someone you know the National Institute of Mental Health recommends getting the person to seek immediate help from his or her doctor, the nearest hospital emergency room or by calling 911. Also, eliminate access to firearms or other dangerous tools, including unsupervised medications.

Online the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) offers an interactive screening program that asks a series of questions. Following completion, participants are encouraged to call in and speak with a mental health professional to discuss their issues. AFSP’s screening program is anonymous and IS NOT a crisis hotline.

Nationally, anyone can dial 1-800-SUICIDE to be connected with the nearest Nation Hopeline Network certified counseling center. A directory of suicide hotlines and resources by state is available at suicidehotlines.com.

In Georgia, the Georgia Crisis and Access Line offers telephone consultations with mental health profesionals – not volunteers – seven days a week, 24 hours a day. 1-800-715-4225 of online at http://www.mygcal.com.

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