Earlier this year, New Heights, Chase Home, and Seacoast Outright were awarded a $50,000 grant from Exeter Hospital to address the issue of teen suicide on the Seacoast. On September 26, this initial collaborative group of nonprofits—formally known as the Seacoast Youth Suicide Prevention Network (SYSPN)—will hold a summit that brings together more than a dozen community stakeholders to discuss next steps.
“We are bringing together mental health centers, community health centers, law enforcement, school personnel—anyone that works directly with youth,” said Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler. “Teen suicide is a significant problem in our area—and we are very thankful for the opportunity to develop a program that has the potential to combat it.”
SYSPN is one of 11 projects that was funded by Exeter Hospital as part of a 5-year initiative to address the underlying causes of youth suicide. The $50,000 is part of a 4-year $200,000 annual grant cycle launched by the hospital last fall.
“This year, we will distribute more than $300,000 in grant funds in 2017 with an additional $30,000 in sponsorship support,” said Jennifer McGowan, Community Impact Officer at Exeter Hospital.
Organizations that have been awarded grants include Arts in Reach ($15,000); HAVEN ($30,000); Exeter YMCA ($45,000); New Heights, Chase Home and Seacoast Outright ($50,000); Carriage Barn Equestrian Center ($25,000); Connor’s Climb Foundation ($12,000); Seacoast Public Health Network ($10,000); Raymond Coalition for Youth ($10,000); Big Brothers Big Sisters of NH ($10,000), and Zero Suicide.
According to Tracey Tucker, executive director at New Heights, Exeter Hospital’s Suicide Prevention Initiative provides a unique opportunity for the entire community.
“We have the opportunity to address a lot of the underlying reasons behind youth suicide,” she said. “These youth have identifiable risk factors that as a collaborative entity we can more effectively address to prevent suicides.”
In looking to the future, McGowan said Exeter Hospital will actively work with all grantees to best leverage resources as well as to help forge new partnerships with community stakeholders.
“We cannot make an impact on youth suicide by working in silos,” she said. “It is a serious issue we all need to address together.”
SYSPN’s Teen Suicide Summit will take place on Tuesday, September 26 at 10 am at Chase
Home in Portsmouth. To learn more, or to attend, visit www.chasehome.org.
To learn more about Exeter Hospital’s Suicide Prevention Initiative and Community Impact Program, visit www.exeterhospital.com.