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Lincoln—The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has received a five-year grant for $3,646,939 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to reduce the numbers of suicides and suicide attempts among youths and young adults age 10-24 in Nebraska.
“Young people face pressures and experience mental illness and substance abuse, just like adults do, and may not know how to seek help,” said Scot L. Adams, director of the Division of Behavioral Health. “Teachers, parents, friends, coaches and others can play a role in preventing suicide and supporting youth.”
The grant will provide:
- Training for communities and child-serving systems to implement suicide prevention strategies. It will increase general awareness of suicide risk and empower community members to identify and refer children, youth and young adults at risk of suicide so that they get the help they need.
- Training for mental health professionals across the state to build their capacity for taking referrals of youth and young adults at risk for suicide.
- Development of teams deployed immediately after a suicide to provide information and support to survivors (family members and others). The team consists of trained survivors and mental health professionals serving as volunteers in an organized response with local first responders.
- Information about restricting lethal means of suicide will be distributed to communities and hospitals, including recommendations like reducing access to prescription pain killers and guns.
LB 923 passed last session requires the Department of Education to provide materials on suicide prevention to teachers and other school personnel, Adams said. The Division will work closely with the Department of Education to assist teachers and other school personnel in addition to community resources.