Suicide is a serious public health problem in Georgia. It is the ninth most common cause of death, taking the lives of more Georgians than homicide. In fact, among Georgia youth and young adults ages 15-24, suicide is the third leading cause of death. Each year almost 1000 Georgians of all ages die by suicide and about 18,000 seek emergency care for injuries related to suicide attempts. This is a tragedy, because many suicides are preventable. The good news is that you can help prevent them.
The Georgia Suicide Prevention Plan was developed through a contract between Georgia's Department of Human Resources, Public Health, Injury Prevention Section and the Suicide Prevention Action Network (SPAN) with the guidance of the Plan Steering Committee. It provides a framework for getting everyone involved in preventing suicide. The Plan is based on recommendations and information from the Surgeon General's Call to Action and the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. It is designed to guide individuals, agencies, and organizations in local communities as well as at regional and state levels. The Plan encompasses suicide prevention in the many systems that touch people's lives. These include education, health care, media, the workplace, faith communities and criminal justice.
The overall aims of the Plan are to:
The following 11 goals are from the Georgia Suicide Prevention Plan and represent key approaches to preventing suicide. The plan gives a framework for getting everyone in Georgia, including you, involved in preventing suicide. The Plan is designed to guide individuals, agencies, and organizations, both in local communities and at the regional and state levels. It also seeks to affect all systems in Georgia that touch our lives, including education, health care, media, business, faith and criminal justice, and to motivate them to help prevent suicide.
The foundation of the Plan uses the public health approach for suicide prevention. The building blocks of the Plan are arranged as opportunities for Awareness, Intervention and Methodology (AIM) to improve suicide prevention. These major action steps are presented under eleven goals.
Action Step: Awareness
Action Step: Intervention
Action Step: Methodology
In 2006, the Suicide Prevention Program was established by the passing of HB 1092. This bill provided for a full time coordinator, part time epidemiologist, and part time administrative support for the Suicide Prevention Program in Georgia.
In 2008 the Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health, Injury Prevention wrote and submitted a proposal for the Garrett Lee Smith Grant for Youth Suicide Prevention in Georgia guided by the recommendations of the Georgia Rural Project executed by SPAN-GA in 2006/2007. Georgia was awarded this grant in October 2008 receiving $500,000 each year for three years. For details of this grant, contact the GLS Grant Coordinator listed below.
In July 2009 the Suicide Prevention Program was moved from Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health. The program now resides in the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Division of Mental Health with 50% of the current state funding allocated to Adult Mental Health and 50% of the current state funding allocated to Child and Adolescent Services. The community based work that was in place has continued within the new department and is currently ongoing. For more information about the work of the Suicide Prevention Program in Georgia, contact one of the state agents listed below.
DEPARTMENT OF BEHAVIORAL HEALTH & DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
Division of Mental Health
Suicide Prevention Program and Garrett Lee Smith Grant oversight
Sally vander Straeten
Suicide Prevention Program Coordinator
GLS Grant Coordinator - Youth Suicide Initiative