Goal Statement: Lower the number of suicide attempts or completions with Montana (Three Forks) youth.
Significant Findings: The rate of suicide has increased dramatically over the last 30 years, and the rate for suicide for those between the ages of 5-14 have increased at least 60% since 1981 (Rosston, 2022). The population for this social change portfolio is Montana youth and the problem is suicide attempts and completions. Not all groups of youth are equally at risk for suicide, with Native Americans and the LGBTQ+ population facing a much higher risk of suicide attempts and completions (Rosston, 2022). The consequences of high suicide rates (beyond the loss of a valuable life) include things like a financial toll to families and the community and complicated grief in the survivors of suicide (Bellini et al., 2018). Lastly, it is important that we work to prevent problems in our communities, instead of always reacting after they have occurred (Tucker, 2015).
Objectives/Strategies/Interventions/Next Steps: There are many different strategies, interventions, and next steps that can be used and taken to provide awareness to the issue of suicide in Montana and work to lower the suicide rates. The social-ecological model provides a great framework to view the risk and protective factors at the individual, relational, community, and societal levels that are critical to understand when working to prevent suicide with Montana youth (Aytur et al., 2022). The health belief model and the theory of planned behavior can provide a great framework to begin to build a foundation for change in Montana when it comes to how suicide prevention is approached (National Cancer Institute, 2005). The signs of suicide program is an effective research-based program that can be used in schools and communities to help increase help seeking behavior and lower the reported rates of suicide attempts (Aseltine & DeMartino, 2004). Another important consideration is to provide advocacy at the institutional, community, and public policy levels to try and create an environment that has the needed supports to prevent the suicide problem Montana faces and remove barriers to the efforts of suicide prevention (Ratts & Greenleaf, 2017).