Minneapolis, MN — Four Minnesota schools have agreed to pilot a youth suicide prevention project
using federal grant funds awarded to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) from the Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The pilot will deploy a student mental
health software system from mdlogix, which is already in use in schools across the country, including
statewide in Michigan and a majority of Pennsylvania.
The SAMHSA Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) grant is providing $2.24 million over three years for suicide
prevention work among American Indian youth, tribal communities and in 12 counties with high rates
of youth suicides. Suicide, accidents and homicide were leading causes of death for children and
adolescents aged 10 to 24 years in Minnesota between the years of 2016 through 2020.
The Garrett Lee Smith grant’s goals are to:
Increase the number of organizations implementing evidence-based early intervention and
suicide prevention policies and practices to identify and respond to youth with unmet mental
● Increase care management, access to mental health services, and follow-up for youth at high
risk of suicide or suicide attempts;
● Increase help seeking behavior and improve youth access to care by promoting innovative
outreach strategies, including 988, mobile crisis, and peer-to-peer interventions; and
● Promote care and support to individuals and communities affected by suicide deaths/attempts
to promote healing and community suicide prevention strategies.
This Minnesota project will assist schools, educational institutions, juvenile justice systems, foster
care systems, health and behavioral healthcare and other youth-serving organizations to develop a
pathway to care.
“We are ensuring that when a youth is identified as ‘at-risk’ there are protocols in place to get the
youth the help they may need,” said Stephanie Downey, suicide prevention coordinator, MDH.
“We worked with the Minnesota Department of Education and Department of Human Services to identify
schools and their school-linked behavioral health systems within the 12-county priority focus area and
tribal communities to implement a system to help screen, assess and treat K-12 students at risk for
Anoka-Hennepin Public School District, Laporte Public Schools, Luverne Public Schools and North
Branch Area Public Schools are participating this school year, with several more being recruited.
“Our planned activities will result in numerous short-term, intermediate and long-term outcomes all
while building supports and protective factors that will have lasting impacts for the youth, well beyond
just suicide prevention,” said Downey
Psychiatrist Allen Tien, MD, MHS, mdlogix president and chief science officer said,
“This partnership is all about the best mental health care and prevention services for Minnesota’s kids and young adults
and a more efficient system for providers.”
Dr. Tien added,
“As we have seen in Michigan, Pennsylvania and other states, the impact of our bhworks software should be significant improvement in efficiency, consistency and rate of completion to save provider time, as well as provide best practices in support of prevention, early intervention and acute treatment services and system development.
It is important to consider that deaths classified as accidents may be a result of similar sets of risk factors as for suicide, for overdose, and for violence and homicide.”