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Sources of Strength

  • Project Title: Sources of Strength
  • Program Representative Interviewed: Scott LoMurray, Director
  • Location: Lakewood, Colorado
  • Program Overview: Sources of Strength is an evidence-based program designed to prevent suicide, as well as other forms of violence, bullying, and substance abuse. The program originated in North Dakota in 1998, under the direction of the program's founder, Mark LoMurray, and has since grown to national prominence, with programs implemented in a majority of U.S. states and in countries across the globe. Today the program is based in Lakewood, Colorado, and works with more than 1,000 urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities, with the majority of programs running in rural and tribal communities.

    The underlying philosophy behind Sources of Strength is that efforts to prevent suicide should include upstream interventions that focus on building resiliency and community connectedness. The core of the program is to identify and train a diverse group of students as peer leaders and caring adults as advisors. Student peer leaders and adult advisors engage in training with staff from Sources of Strength and then work together to develop positive messaging around strength, resilience, and recovery that draws in the broader community in engaging and developing their own strengths. Most programs are run through schools, but other community-based agencies can also take a lead in implementing Sources of Strength.

    Since its founding, Sources of Strength has garnered widespread media attention, as well as academic research demonstrating its effectiveness, including a study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Any rural stakeholders wishing to implement Sources of Strength in their own community can contact the organization. There is a nominal fee for participation, to cover the cost of trainers and program expenses; however, many communities have been successful in obtaining grant funding to cover those costs. Further, Sources of Strength offers a "train the trainer" program to allow its efforts to spread and be sustainable over time in individual communities.

Models represented by this program: