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Prevention Initiatives and Priority Programs Development Branch

The Prevention Initiatives and Priority Programs Development Branch is part of the Division of Prevention, Traumatic Stress, and Special Programs at the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS). CMHS is leading the effort to transform mental health systems and the way mental health services are perceived, accessed, delivered, and financed. A major way that the Prevention Initiatives and Priority Programs Development Branch (PIPPDB) supports transformation is through their grants and other programs that promote mental health for children, youth, and families and prevent mental and behavioral disorders for those who are at-risk.

PIPPDB currently has projects that focus on:

Youth Violence Prevention

The interdepartmental Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative (SS/HS) is designed to prevent school violence and foster the healthy development of children. The SS/HS Initiative is an unprecedented collaborative grant program supported by three federal agencies – the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, and Justice. The SS/HS Initiative seeks to develop real-world knowledge about what works best to promote safe and healthy environments in which America’s children can learn and develop. It is a unique Federal program designed to prevent violence and substance abuse in our Nation’s youth, schools, and communities.

Complementing SS/HS is PIPPDB’s Youth Violence Prevention Program that provides support for grantees to form and expand on community collaborations dedicated to the prevention of youth violence, substance abuse, suicide, and other mental health and behavioral problems.

Targeted Capacity Expansion grants for the Prevention Early Intervention Grant Program aim to develop mental health prevention and early intervention services targeted to infants, toddlers, preschool, and school-age children, and/or adolescents in both mental health settings and other settings that serve this population.

PIPPDB has also developed the 15+ Make Time to Listen, Take Time to Talk campaign based on the premise that parents who talk with their children about what is happening in their lives are better able to guide their children and this can be instrumental in building a healthier and safer environment for children. The initiative has been adapted to address the prevention of bullying and the climate of fear created by bullying through a national education and dissemination project.

Suicide Prevention

Recent reports by the Institute of Medicine and the World Health Organization have revealed the magnitude and impact of suicide, citing it as the cause of death for 30,000 Americans annually and over one million people worldwide. These reports, as well as the President’s New Freedom Commission Report and the Surgeon General’s National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, call for aggressive efforts to reduce the loss of life and suffering related to suicide.

The Branch supports several key initiatives designed to improve public and professional awareness of suicide as a preventable public health problem and to enhance the capabilities of the systems that promote prevention and recovery, including:

  • Cooperative Agreements for State-Sponsored Youth Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention Program. Three-year grants to support States and tribes in developing and implementing statewide or tribal youth suicide prevention and early intervention strategies, grounded in public/private collaboration.
  • Campus Suicide Prevention Grants. Three-year grants to institutions of higher education to enhance services for students with mental and behavioral health problems that can lead to school failure, depression, substance abuse, and suicide attempts.
  • Cooperative Agreement for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC). Funds the continuation of a Federal Suicide Technical Assistance Center to provide guidance to State, tribal, and local grantees in the implementation of the suicide prevention strategy; create standards for data collection; and collect, evaluate, and disseminate data related to specific suicide prevention programs.
  • Networking and Certifying Suicide Prevention Hotlines. This grant provides funding to manage a toll-free national suicide prevention hotline network utilizing a life affirming number which routes calls from anywhere in the United States to a network of local crisis centers that can link callers to local emergency, mental health and social service resources. 
  • Linking Adolescents at Risk to Mental Health Services Grant Program. This initiative is one of SAMHSA's Service-to-Science Grants programs. The purpose of the Adolescents at Risk program is to evaluate voluntary school-based programs that focus on identification and referral of high school youth who are at risk for suicide or suicide attempts. Eligible applicants are local educational agencies or nonprofit entities in conjunction with local educational agencies.

Collectively, these initiatives will further awareness of suicide, will promote suicide prevention and intervention efforts, and will reduce the numbers of lives lost and disrupted by suicide.


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