Suicidal behavior is highly prevalent among adolescents in the United States and associated with substantial morbidity. Moreover, suicidal behavior is a primary risk factor for suicide, which is the third leading cause of death for this age group. Despite the public health significance of suicidal behavior and suicide, few evidence-based prevention strategies have been developed for adolescents and even fewer have focused on preventing the initial occurrence of suicidal behavior. In response to RFA- CE-10-006 "Prevention of Suicidal Behavior through the Enhancement of Connectedness," this application proposes to rigorously assess the effectiveness of Links to Enhancing Teens'Connectedness (LET's CONNECT) in a randomized controlled prevention trial. LET's CONNECT was designed for adolescents who are at elevated risk for suicidal behavior due to low interpersonal connectedness, a recent history of bullying others, and/or a recent history of being bullied. It teams the adolescent with an adolescent-nominated "natural" mentor and a community mentor to actively facilitate and support the adolescent's engagement with community organizations and activities.
Specific aims are to determine if adolescents in the LET's CONNECT condition relative to adolescents in the control condition (community resource information only): (1) report greater improvement in individual connectedness and community connectedness, and (2) are less likely to engage in suicidal behavior.
Despite the high prevalence of suicidal behavior among adolescents and the too frequent tragedy of suicide, few evidence-based suicide prevention strategies have been developed. This application proposes to rigorously assess the effectiveness of the Links to Enhancing Teens'Connectedness (LET's CONNECT). This strategy was designed to enhance family and community connectedness and to prevent the onset of suicidal behavior in adolescents who are at elevated risk due to a history of victimization or exposure to interpersonal violence.