244997 Strides: Individual- and community-level suicide prevention for at-risk youth

Monday, October 31, 2011

Anne Sutkowi , School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles
Ashley Roberts , School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles
Issues: Suicide the third leading cause of death among youth, ages 15-24 is an important and preventable public health concern. Continuation high school students are at higher risk for suicide than their peers at comprehensive high schools, with one in six attempting suicide each year. Description: Strides is a 10-week suicide prevention program developed and implemented by two MPH students at a continuation high school. The program employed three strategies: skill building, physical activity, and community outreach. Skill-building sessions used cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to increase students' positive coping skills. Physical activity specifically 5k training was incorporated into Strides because it is a proven strategy for reducing depression. The Strides 5k Run/Walk aimed to increase community awareness about suicide prevention and provided an opportunity for youth to improve their self-efficacy and self-esteem by setting a 5k goal and working to accomplish it with the support of their peers. Lessons Learned: Fourteen students participated in Strides, and 142 community members registered for the 5k run/walk. Strides was perceived as necessary and was well received by school administrators as a means of filling gaps in their current curriculum. The results of this pilot implementation demonstrate Strides' feasibility as an inexpensive suicide prevention program. Recommendations: Strides may fit best in schools lacking prevention programming and sports teams, and it is an opportunity for MPH students to gain practical experience in program implementation and evaluation. Further evaluation is necessary to determine its effectiveness in addressing suicide risk and protective factors.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify three strategies that can be used for suicide prevention among continuation high school students. 2. Identify five risk factors that put continuation high school students at greater risk for suicide than comprehensive high school students.

Keywords: Suicide, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed, implemented, and evaluated the Strides suicide prevention program for continuation high school youth.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.