The costs of suicide are deeply felt but extremely complicated to quantify. Less than a year after his 22-year-old son took his own life, former U.S. Senator Gordon Smith introduced the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act to fund youth suicide prevention programs, which passed unanimously. SAMHSA enlisted ICF to track and measure the efficacy of these efforts in 2005, ensuring that Congress receives accurate reports on the full impact of Smith’s legacy.
Our support reaches beyond analysis. To enhance data reporting, we have provided evaluation training and technical assistance to 247 campus grantees and 199 grantees from 50 states, two U.S territories, and 50 tribes. This allows grantees to better quantify their hard work and allows SAMHSA to understand the true reach of the program. Thus far, GLS grantees have hosted over 39,000 training events and helped identify nearly 70,000 at-risk youth, half of whom obtain referrals and receive mental health services within three months.
The NOE includes three core studies plus special analysis. Guided by specific research questions, we have designed mechanisms to thoroughly assess program implementation and outcomes by comparing data from communities both with and without active GLS intervention. We document progress every step of the way, protecting statistical integrity through hands-on involvement. The resulting data continues to bolster strong congressional backing; its funding remains intact to this day.