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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 2020
  • 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 and on a yearly basis, 6,000 7th and 8th grade students receive 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
Updated/reviewed August 2020
  • 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

FirstLink Caring Contacts
Updated/reviewed July 2020
  • Need: To reduce suicides in North Dakota and Minnesota.
  • Intervention: The Caring Contacts program provides phone calls and cards to those who have called suicide helplines or were referred by a healthcare provider.
  • Results: In 2019, FirstLink made 11,232 calls and sent 1,694 cards to program participants.
Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline
Updated/reviewed June 2020
  • 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: In 2019, the helpline received 95 calls, and the website had nearly 4,600 visits.
Regional Behavioral Health Network
Updated/reviewed May 2020
  • 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 2020
  • 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: Studies suggest that Hope Squad schools' students with suicidal thoughts are more likely than non-Hope Squad schools' students to solicit help and that stigma surrounding mental illness is decreasing.
Together With Veterans Rural Suicide Prevention Program
Added December 2019
  • Need: Suicide among veterans has been steadily increasing, and rural veterans have a 20% increased risk of death by suicide compared to urban veterans.
  • Intervention: A program called Together With Veterans was formed to help rural communities address and prevent suicides among veterans. The initiative is veteran-led, collaborative, evidence-based, and community-centered.
  • Results: The program is currently in 6 states and reaches over 1,500 veterans every quarter while nurturing connections between agencies and community members.
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.
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.