Our Story

Nebraska Youth Suicide Prevention explores ways to recognize the warning signs of suicide & provides access to community resources.

Project Overview

If you need immediate help,
call or text


In Nebraska, suicide is the 1st leading cause of death for ages 10-14 years and the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 15-24 years. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014).

The Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act was enacted by the United States Congress in 2004 to provide funding specifically for youth suicide prevention. The legislation is named in memory of the son of U.S. Senator Gordon Smith, J.D. (D-OR).  

Nebraska first received a grant under this act in October 2009 and the second in October 2014. The third and current grant was issued in 2019. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Behavioral Health, Nebraska’s Behavioral Health Regions, the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, and the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition are partnering to carry out activities for this grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a branch of the federal Department of Health and Human Services.


Nebraska is participating in a cross-site evaluation
of this project with the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center to track the impact of all local activities funded by the grant

Our Partners

It takes a collaborated effort to prevent youth suicide. Learn about some of the organizations and individuals involved in preventing youth suicide in the state of Nebraska.

Project Overview

Why Nebraska?

In Nebraska, suicide is the 1st leading cause of death for ages 10 – 14 years, the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 15 – 24 years, and the 10th leading cause of death overall in Nebraska. Suicide is a preventable public health problem impacting Nebraskans of all ages and backgrounds across our state, tribal lands, and the nation. Suicide prevention is everyone’s responsibility, and strategies that invest in individuals, families, and communities to prevent death by suicide is a necessity moving toward positive outcomes for all citizens.


Why Region V?

The geographic focus in the Region V catchment area is supported by suicide death data calculated by Nebraska’s health districts, which have exceeded the six-year average youth suicide state rate, ranging from 9.97 to 20.23 per 100,000 people, over and above the national rate of death by suicide. Concentration in this area will provide Nebraska with a set of standardized policies and initiatives that will be available for implementation by all Nebraska human and health service organizations during and at the completion of this grant.

What are the potential community impacts?

  • Enhanced community awareness of concerning behaviors.
  • Professionals and community members better equipped to identify and respond to concerning behaviors.
  • A reduction in youth suicides.

What are the project goals?

  • Decrease youth suicide rate by 80% in Region V by 2024.
  • 100% of NE public school districts will have protocols for suicide prevention, post-suicide intervention, and transition back to school by 2024.
  • Twenty Nebraska healthcare systems/BH organizations will implement zero suicide approach by 2024.
  • 100% of Nebraska’s child serving systems will adopt evidence-based practices in follow-up with youth after a suicide attmept or hospitalization by 2024.
  • 100% of Nebraska crisis/Violence Risk Assessment clinicians will implement evidence-based practices.

Funding for this project is a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a branch of the federal Department of Health and Human Services.