About the Suicide Prevention Program
The Suicide Prevention Program is located within the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD), Division of Behavioral Health, Office of Behavioral Health Prevention (OBHP). Through a multi-faceted approach of suicide prevention trainings, public policy, evidence-based interventions, and postvention strategies, the Suicide Prevention team works with government agencies, behavioral health organizations, community partners, non-profit organizations, educators, clinicians, and law enforcement to mitigate suicide attempts and suicide deaths in our state.
Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Grant
The Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) Youth Suicide Prevention Project is funded by SAMHSA from September 2015 through September 2020. The project supports a 25-plus member coalition of Georgia Colleges and Universities, and supports suicide prevention conferences, evidence-based suicide prevention training opportunities a year, and ongoing technical assistance to communities and organizations. The Georgia College Suicide Prevention Coalition (College Coalition) oversee targeted college and post-secondary education suicide prevention efforts. The efforts of Georgia’s colleges and universities are included in the GLS goals to serve youth and their families over the life of the 5-year project.
The project prioritizes at-risk youth, 10 to 24 years of age, living in or near Bartow, Newton, and Oconee counties, where youth suicide death rates were higher than the national average of 8.02 for the years from 2011 - 2013. Implementation of suicide gatekeeper training and screening for suicide among youth in these counties have increased as a direct result of this grant funded project.
Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) for Suicide Prevention
Leveraging SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework to address the public health problem of suicide in Georgia, this prevention program in its first year is working with select providers to target high suicide burden counties in each region of the state using data-driven, research-validated, evidence-based strategic approaches.
The objectives of the program are to increase the availability of suicide prevention gatekeeper trainings, decrease perceived stigma of suicide, increase awareness of suicide prevention and intervention strategies, increase the use of evidence-based suicide prevention strategies, and collaborate with existing and/or emerging suicide prevention coalitions to achieve local objectives that contribute to state-level positive outcomes.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in Georgia according to 2017 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The suicide burden in Georgia stretches from rural to urban areas and touches every racial and age group.
Georgia is a leader in developing community and public policy solutions to suicide. In early 2019, suicide prevention stakeholders across the state, convened to learn and discuss the complexity of suicide, suicide prevention in Georgia, and priority goals and strategies to address the burden of suicide.
Many of Georgia’s top minds and leaders in suicide prevention gathered, committed to forging a new path forward with recommended goals, objectives, and strategies for all stakeholders to invest their time and energy. Committees focused on Prevention in Healthcare; Wellness, Resiliency, and Recovery; Safe Messaging; Evidence-Based Prevention and Interventions; Training and Technical Assistance; and Postvention. The final document of the proposed 2020-2025 Georgia Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan is still being drafted and is planned for a spring 2020 distribution.
The goal of Mental Health Awareness Training (MHAT) Project is to increase the capacity of Georgia communities to reduce suicide risk that may contribute to suicide attempts and/or death by suicide. In providing MHAT at the community level as well as ensuring the availability of mental health services and resources in geographic catchment areas, the Office of Behavioral Health Prevention (OBHP) will use the Georgia DBHDD safety net provider system, community service boards.
This project will train more than two-hundred individuals annually statewide, including providing specialty training certification for at least one hundred mental health and/or suicide prevention professionals in total around the state. In addition, organizational representatives who receive training support will enhance the mental health service referral process for individuals and families, increasing access to care and support.
Georgia Suicide Prevention Coalitions
Suicide prevention coalitions can be an integral part of suicide prevention efforts in Georgia. Operating as community-based initiatives, coalitions extend the reach of evidence-based prevention, intervention, and postvention resources and services to reach underserved communities and populations.
The suicide prevention program is committed to supporting the development and expansion of suicide prevention coalitions and provides training and technical assistance to support their local efforts.
Suicide Education & Training Projects
GA DBHDD Suicide Prevention, Screening, Brief Intervention and Monitoring Policy 01-118
Youth Helping Youth Fight Suicide
Several Georgia organizations have come together to produce a series of public service announcements (PSAs) aimed at youth helping youth. The messages include survivors who have attempted suicide and bravely share their stories in dealing with depression, anxiety, and other adolescent issues. Others offer hope and support in this peer-to-peer message to children who may be at risk.
DISCLAIMER: These videos contain descriptions of suicidal feelings and behaviors of youth by youth. These descriptions may cause discomfort and/or trigger suicidal thoughts in some people. The phone number for the Georgia Crisis and Access Line (1-800-715-4225) is shared on each video for quick access to professional help 24 hours a day.
Suicide Prevention PSA
Raising Awareness of Youth Suicide
The Georgia Child Fatality Review (GCFR) Panel created a series of PSAs to raise awareness of youth suicide. Joining GCFR in this prevention effort are Voices for Georgia’s Children, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Department of Human Services’ Division of Family and Children Services, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
To view the PSAs visit https://gbi.georgia.gov/CFR
Request Suicide Prevention Training & Technical Assistance
In order to effectively and efficiently respond to technical assistance requests related to program information, training requests, postvention needs, etc. we request that you download the [email protected], complete it fully and email it directly to the Suicide Prevention Program Staff at
For further information, contact [email protected]