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Am J Public Health. 2015 May;105(5):986-93. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302496. Epub 2015 Mar 19.

Impact of the Garrett Lee Smith youth suicide prevention program on suicide mortality.

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Christine Walrath, Lucas Godoy Garraza, and Hailey Reid are with the Public Health Division, ICF International, New York, NY. David B. Goldston is with the Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC. Richard McKeon is with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD.



We examined whether a reduction in youth suicide mortality occurred between 2007 and 2010 that could reasonably be attributed to Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) program efforts.


We compared youth mortality rates across time between counties that implemented GLS-funded gatekeeper training sessions (the most frequently implemented suicide prevention strategy among grantees) and a set of matched counties in which no GLS-funded training occurred. A rich set of background characteristics, including preintervention mortality rates, was accounted for with a combination of propensity score-based techniques. We also analyzed closely related outcomes that we did not expect to be affected by GLS as control outcomes.


Counties implementing GLS training had significantly lower suicide rates among the population aged 10 to 24 years the year after GLS training than similar counties that did not implement GLS training (1.33 fewer deaths per 100 000; P = .02). Simultaneously, we found no significant difference in terms of adult suicide mortality rates or nonsuicide youth mortality the year after the implementation.


These results support the existence of an important reduction in youth suicide rates resulting from the implementation of GLS suicide prevention programming.

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