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.

Public Health Relevance

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.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC)
Research Project--Cooperative Agreements (U01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZCE1-JXS (06))
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Schools of Medicine
Ann Arbor
United States
Zip Code
King, Cheryl A; Gipson, Polly Y; Arango, Alejandra et al. (2018) LET's CONNECT community mentorship program for youths with peer social problems: Preliminary findings from a randomized effectiveness trial. J Community Psychol 46:885-902
Foster, Cynthia Ewell; Horwitz, Adam; Thomas, Alvin et al. (2017) Connectedness to family, school, peers, and community in socially vulnerable adolescents. Child Youth Serv Rev 81:321-331
Arango, Alejandra; Opperman, Kiel J; Gipson, Polly Y et al. (2016) Suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among youth who report bully victimization, bully perpetration and/or low social connectedness. J Adolesc 51:19-29
Cole-Lewis, Yasmin C; Gipson, Polly Y; Opperman, Kiel J et al. (2016) Protective Role of Religious Involvement Against Depression and Suicidal Ideation Among Youth with Interpersonal Problems. J Relig Health 55:1172-88
Opperman, Kiel; Czyz, Ewa K; Gipson, Polly Y et al. (2015) Connectedness and Perceived Burdensomeness among Adolescents at Elevated Suicide Risk: An Examination of the Interpersonal Theory of Suicidal Behavior. Arch Suicide Res 19:385-400