(HealthDay News) — The comprehensive Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Suicide Prevention Program (GLS program) is associated with a reduction in suicide attempts among youths, according to a study published online October 14 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Lucas Godoy Garraza, from ICF International in New York, and colleagues compared 466 counties implementing the GLS program for youths aged 16–23 years of age between 2006–2009 with 1,161 counties that shared key pre-intervention characteristics but did not participate in the GLS program. The study involved programs in 46 states and 12 tribal communities.

The researchers found that counties implementing GLS program activities had significantly lower suicide attempt rates in the year after implementation compared with similar counties not implementing the GLS program (4.9 fewer attempts per 1,000 youths). It is estimated that more than 79,000 suicide attempts may have been averted after implementation of the GLS program. Suicide attempt rates among individuals older than 23 years did not vary significantly during the same period.

“Sustained suicide prevention programming efforts may be needed to maintain the reduction in suicide attempt rates,” conclude the authors.

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