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Rural Project Examples: Suicide and suicide prevention

Effective Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy I Got You: Healthy Life Choices for Teens (IGU)
Updated/reviewed September 2019
  • Need: To improve awareness of behavioral and mental health issues by students in rural, east central Mississippi.
  • Intervention: An intensive community mental health outreach program was implemented for students in rural Mississippi.
  • Results: As of 2018, 6,000 7th and 8th grade students are given mental health education on a variety of topics which improves their ability to recognize mental health issues, high risk behaviors, and their self-concept.
Rural Telemental Health (RTMH) Program
Updated/reviewed July 2018
  • Need: To provide high-quality mental healthcare to rural veterans.
  • Intervention: The Rural Telemental Health (RTMH) program, stationed at the Portland VA Medical Center, reaches rural veterans in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington via telehealth.
  • Results: From 2010 to 2013, 1,754 veterans received diagnoses, therapy, medication management, and other mental health services.

Promising Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Schools That Care
Added April 2019
  • Need: To provide mental health services to rural Kansas students and their families.
  • Intervention: The Schools That Care project provides mental health treatment and case management as well as community education events.
  • Results: In three years, 545 people received services through the school social worker, and 3,227 people participated in community events.

Other Project Examples

Together We Can Be Bully Free
Updated/reviewed November 2019
  • Need: Union Parish, a rural county in Louisiana, was experiencing higher than average suicide rates among youth.
  • Intervention: Union General Hospital, a Critical Access Hospital, started a program to educate students grade 4 through 12 on the negative effects of bullying and how to model positive social behavior.
  • Results: The 3,000+ students trained have learned how to recognize, report, and react to bullying.
FirstLink Suicide Follow-Up Program
Updated/reviewed July 2019
  • Need: To reduce suicides in North Dakota and Minnesota.
  • Intervention: The Suicide Follow-Up Program provides phone calls and cards to those who have called suicide helplines or were referred by a healthcare provider.
  • Results: In 2018, FirstLink made 8,226 calls and sent 1,266 cards to program participants.
Healthy Men Michigan
Updated/reviewed April 2019
  • Need: Mental health assistance and resources for men in rural Michigan who struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts.
  • Intervention: The Healthy Men Michigan campaign was a research study testing online screening for depression, including irritability and anger, and suicide in working-aged men. The Healthy Men Michigan campaign website also offered referrals to local and national resources specific to men's mental health.
  • Results: More than 5,000 individuals completed anonymous online screenings and 550 men enrolled in the study. Healthy Men Michigan secured partnerships with over 225 individual and organizational partners, including healthcare facilities, small businesses, and recreational groups across the state. Together, their efforts have helped to promote screenings, reduce stigma, and encourage help-seeking behavior to prevent suicide.
Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline
Added April 2019
  • Need: To connect farmers in stress with needed resources.
  • Intervention: The Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline and website connect callers with counselors, help with daily living (like childcare or food assistance), and financial/legal advice.
  • Results: From July 2018 to February 2019, the helpline received 57 calls, and the website had more than 1,300 unique visitors.
Regional Behavioral Health Network
Updated/reviewed April 2019
  • Need: Multiple organizations in rural east central Illinois were struggling with how to treat patients with behavioral health issues or how to access services for them in a timely manner.
  • Intervention: The Regional Behavioral Health Network was established with a 24-hour toll-free crisis line, providing immediate access to trained crisis clinicians.
  • Results: Improved access to and a higher quality of behavioral healthcare for patients in rural east central Illinois.
Hope Squad
Updated/reviewed March 2019
  • Need: To reduce youth suicide rates.
  • Intervention: Hope Squad is a nationwide program that trains youth to look after their classmates and refer those with suicidal thoughts or other mental health concerns to adult advisors.
  • Results: Surveys reveal higher help-seeking behavior in schools with Hope Squads than schools without. They also indicate that Hope Squad members increase and retain their knowledge of suicide and increase help-seeking behaviors after completing training.