Reducing youth suicide in the U.S. is a national public health priority, and LGBTQ youth are at an especially elevated risk. A safe and supportive school environment is pivotal to preventing youth suicide, second only to a safe and supportive home in importance for preventing suicide and other risk behaviors. Schools are now widely accepted as part of the de facto mental healthcare infrastructure for adolescents and are a central point of intervention for improving mental health outcomes.
The collaborative research partnership between the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM), the University of California San Diego Child and Adolescent Research Center(UCSD), and the New Mexico Chapter of the National Association of School Nurses, the New Mexico School Nurse’s Association, is spearheading an innovative approach to reduce stigma, discrimination, and violence toward socially disadvantaged groups, and prevent youth suicide behaviors. The Reducing LGBTQ Adolescent Suicide (RLAS) project will train school staff statewide and enhance school capacity to implement the following six evidence-based strategies proven to reduce the risk of suicide:
Implementation of these strategies via the RLAS study will enhance school environments to promote positive mental health outcomes not simply for LGBTQ youth, but for their cisgender, heterosexual peers as well.