Jeff Inman, director of the District’s Prevention Intervention Center, in collaboration with the University of Rochester and University of South Florida, was recently published as a co-author in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2008, Vol. 76, No. 1, 104–115.
The study began in January of 2004 as a randomized clinical trial of a suicide prevention gatekeeper program called Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) in 32 of Cobb County School District’s middle and high schools. Funding for the project came from the University of Rochester as a subcontract from the National Institute of Mental Health. Three significant findings were increased:
• knowledge and retention of suicide prevention information
• knowledge of how to refer students for help
• comfort level or efficacy to refer suicidal students
A secondary finding from analysis of student surveys found that students who reported suicidal thoughts in the past year were the least likely to talk to an adult at school if they felt stressed or overwhelmed. This secondary finding is what has lead to a third phase of our project.
The third phase is a student leadership/peer helping program called Sources of Strength. Six high schools agreed to participate and were assigned to a randomized clinical trial model. The first three high were trained in November of 2007 and the final three will be trained in March 2008. The goal of the training and study is to raise help seeking behavior and attitudes of the students in these schools.