The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Public Health Division manages the Caring Connections Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative, which is funded through the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act and SAMHSA
. This five-year initiative (2014-19) builds on an existing foundation of collaboration across sectors to reduce the burden of suicide among youth.
The initiative targets youth aged 10 to 24 years with a focus on at-risk youth including those who live in five Oregon counties with a higher-than-national rate of youth suicide, military families, youth involved in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, Native American youth, Latino youth and sexual minority youth.
OHA is funding and working with five counties during the grant period: Deschutes County Health Services, Jackson County Health and Human Services, Josephine County through Options for Southern Oregon, Inc., Washington County Public Health, and Umatilla County Public Health.
Caring Connections mobilizes key partners, including community mental health programs; public health; hospitals, Emergency Departments, and primary care; schools; addictions and mental health clinicians; juvenile justice; Veteran’s organizations; and coordinated care organizations.
Partners will implement the following strategies:
- Provide training to increase the number of individuals trained to identify and refer at risk youth
- Train health care providers to assess, manage and treat youth at risk for suicide
- Improve continuity of care for youth discharged from emergency departments and inpatient psychiatric units
- Improve county crisis response
- Promote the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
In addition, the Suicide Prevention Council of Washington County has adopted the Zero Suicide framework
to reduce rates of suicide. As part of the grant, Washington County Public Health will work with health care organizations to help them adopt and implement Zero Suicide.