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Rural Project Examples: Suicide and suicide prevention

Effective Examples

Rural Telemental Health (RTMH) Program
Added July 2016
  • 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 I Got You: Healthy Life Choices for Teens (IGU)
Updated/reviewed June 2017
  • Need: To improve the mental health of students in rural, east central Mississippi.
  • Intervention: An intensive community mental health outreach program was implemented for eighth graders in a nine-county area in Mississippi.
  • Results: Students improved their ability to recognize mental health issues (high risk behaviors) and their self-concept.

Other Project Examples

Regional Behavioral Health Network
Updated/reviewed April 2018
  • 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 2018
  • Need: To reduce youth suicide rates in Utah.
  • Intervention: Hope Squad is a statewide 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 indicate that Hope Squad members increase and retain their knowledge of suicide and increase help-seeking behaviors after completing training.
Suicide Follow-Up Program
Added July 2017
  • 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 2016, FirstLink made 1,194 calls and sent 316 cards to program participants.
Healthy Men Michigan
Added June 2017
  • Need: Mental health assistance and resources for men in rural Michigan who struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts.
  • Intervention: The Healthy Men Michigan campaign promotes an anonymous, online screening that assesses the risk of depression and suicide in men. It also offers referrals to national and local resources specific to men’s mental health.
  • Results: More than 1,000 Michigan men have taken the screening. Healthy Men Michigan has secured partnerships with 223 partners, including healthcare facilities, small businesses, and recreational groups across the state, to promote the screening.
Together We Can Be Bully Free
Added April 2017
  • Need: Rural Union Parish, Louisiana experienced higher than average suicide rates among youth.
  • Intervention: Union General Hospital, a Critical Access Hospital, started a program to educate students 4th through 12th grade on the negative effects of bullying and how to model positive social behavior.
  • Results: The 1,500+ students trained have learned how to recognize, report, and react to bullying.
Teck John Baker Youth Leaders Program
Updated/reviewed October 2016
  • Need: The teen suicide rate in rural Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska, was 7 times higher than the statewide teen suicide rate.
  • Intervention: The Teck John Baker Youth Leaders Program trains student leaders to effectively give support to struggling peers and appropriately deal with social issues.
  • Results: The number of teen suicides in the Northwest Arctic Borough decreased from 8 in 2008 to 5 in 2009 (when the program first began) and has successfully dropped and remained at zero every year since.