Results for Kids - Youth Suicide


The California Endowment provided funding to the Children's Initiative for an extraordinary project called "Results for Kids." The project brought together stakeholders, community residents and key leaders to study why trends in selected indicators in the San Diego County Report Card are improving or deteriorating. Using the results-accountability tools developed by the Fiscal Policy Studies Institute (Friedman, M.), three indicators were examined for this grant: the rate of youth who have attempted suicide, the rate of domestic violence reports, and motor vehicle injuries and deaths related to alcohol, ages 16 - 20 .


During the inception of the Results for Kids project, The Children's Initiative convened over 300 stakeholder and community members to educate the community on Mark Friedman's Results Based Accountability , a focused and extraordinarily effective method of examining what it takes to "turn the curve" of health and well-being outcomes. A fundamental component of this method is the acquisition of good, valid data. As we began to look at the data on youth suicide in San Diego County , a critical data issue was uncovered. At that time, in 2003, the only source for Report Card data about suicidal thinking and behaviors among our youth was the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey - administered only within the San Diego Unified School District . The Suicide Indicator Workgroup concluded that although SDUSD is the largest school district in our county, it is not an adequate representation of all youth living in San Diego County , particularly those living in unincorporated areas and along communities by the county's borders. It was further determined that close to 100% of our 42 school districts administered the California Healthy Kids Survey - but without the additional module of questions identical to the YRBSS suicidality questions. The first task of this project was thus born: reaching out to our school districts and conveying the importance of knowing to what extent our adolescents are dealing with issues of depression and suicidal feelings and behaviors. The first accomplishment of the task force was to gain the agreement of 12 of our 18 high school and unified school districts to add this custom module to the administration of the California Healthy Kids Survey. This important data was first able to be reported for the school year 2004-05, and now continues to be collected annually. For the first time, more representative data is available to guide prevention and intervention efforts throughout San Diego County . Outreach and advocacy continue with the remaining 6 districts that do not yet collect this data.

The workgroup also conducted a nationwide scan of data about youth and suicide, and "what works" for prevention. This massive body of information was then synthesized and a "Train the Trainer" toolkit on Youth Suicide Prevention was created. This toolkit was presented at multiple service agencies, community based organizations, and county agencies throughout 2005 and 2006, and requests for the toolkit have continued through 2009. Please click here to view the PowerPoint presentation.