Youth Suicide Prevention

​According to the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, in an average class of 25 high school students:

  • 19 had at least one day in the past month where their mental health was not good (76%)
  • 8 felt sad or hopeless for 2 or more weeks in the past year  (32%)
  • 3 have seriously considered suicide in the past year  (13%)
  • 3 have attempted suicide in the past year (14%)

And in an average class of 25 middle school students:

  • 6 felt sad or hopeless for 2 or more weeks in the past year (25%)
  • 4 have ever seriously considered suicide (16%)
  • 2 have ever attempted suicide (6%)

The Rhode Island Youth Suicide Prevention Program (RIYSPP) is a partnership among RI Student Assistance Services (RISAS), the RI Department of Health, Bradley Hospital/Kids’ Link RI, Brown University, and RI school districts. RIYSPP serves 10- to 24-year-old youth at risk for suicide through universal prevention strategies and improved crisis intervention.

Through RISAS, RIYSPP provides the following services:

  • In collaboration with Bradley Hospital, training for all Rhode Island school districts in the Suicide Prevention Initiative (SPI), a streamlined system for crisis assessment, intervention, behavioral health treatment and follow-up services. This free program includes:
    • Training in the warning signs of suicide
    • Assessing for suicide using the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (CSSRS)
    • How to utilize a centralized intake process that enables school crisis teams to refer students directly to Kids’ Link RI, rather than having to send them to a hospital emergency department.
  • Training in QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer), an evidence-based training on the warning signs of suicide and how to refer a youth for help. This free training is available to community-based organizations, parents and other groups.

RIYSPP benefits to public middle and high schools:

  • Improved identification and evaluation of students at risk for suicide using a universal evidence-based screener and referral protocol
  • Improved formal communication and follow-up between emergency and mental health service providers and schools
  • Reduced ambulance transports, which results in less disruption for students and families
  • Improved follow-up for youth referred for suicidal ideation

For more information or to request training for your school or organization, contact Program Manager Leigh A. Reposa at or 401-952-7260.

For more information on suicide prevention across the lifespan in RI go to

Warning Signs

Call 9-1-1 or seek immediate help from a mental health provider if you hear or see any of these behaviors:

  • Someone threatening to hurt or kill themselves
  • Someone looking for ways to kill themselves (for example, seeking access to pills, weapons, or other means)
  • Someone talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide

Seek help by contacting a mental health professional or call 1-800-273-TALK for a referral if you witness, hear, or see anyone exhibiting any of these behaviors:

  • Hopelessness
  • Rage, anger, revenge seeking
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped or like there’s no way out
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, or society
  • Anxiety, agitation, inability to sleep, or sleeping all the time
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life

Important Crisis Resources

National Resources

RISAS is a Recovery Friendly Workplace and an equal opportunity employer.