In Crisis? Call    988

Since the start of the project in September 2014, staff have delivered more than 200 trainings to over 12,000 individuals in educational, behavioral health, and community settings throughout the commonwealth.

The GLS project provides three levels of suicide prevention training:

  • Gatekeeper training on general youth suicide awareness and prevention topics for anyone in a position to recognize and refer a youth at risk of suicide;
  • Targeted training on assessment and interventions for school mental health professionals, SAP team members, and others in the behavioral health field; and
  • Clinical training in evidence-based treatment for behavioral health providers.
About Gatekeeper Trainings
Gatekeeper training is designed for anyone who is strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide (e.g., parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, coaches, caseworkers, etc.).  The project offers a range of gatekeeper trainings, with in-person and online options.  Gatekeeper trainings typically cover the topics of suicide myths, risk and protective factors, warning signs, how to respond/make an appropriate referral, and resources.


Youth Suicide Prevention

General gatekeeper training developed by project staff that covers the above training topics and typically ranges in duration from 1-2 hours, based on the needs of the training site. This training can be delivered in-person or remotely via web conferencing technology.


Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR)

QPR Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention covers the above training topics and teaches a 3-step process for responding to individuals that may be suicidal: (1) Question the individual's desire or intent regarding suicide, (2) Persuade the person to seek and accept help, and (3) Refer the person to appropriate resources. Trainees receive a QPR booklet with an overview of training content and information about resources. The training also includes a role play component. The duration is typically between 1.5 and 2 hours.

Additionally, to assist schools and colleges with building capacity to offer regular suicide prevention trainings, the project offers QPR Instructor Trainings by request. To learn more about this opportunity, please scroll to the bottom of this page to contact Perri Rosen.


Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA)

MHFA and YMHFA teach how to help someone who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge. The adult MHFA course is appropriate for anyone who wants to learn how to help a person who may be experiencing a mental health related crisis or problem. YMHFA is designed to teach adults how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. The courses both teach a 5-step action plan for how to help people in both crisis and non-crisis situations and include multiple opportunities to practice the action plan through role plays. Trainees receive a booklet with information about various mental health diagnoses, the action plan, and resources.

About Clinical Trainings

Clinical trainings offered through the project include cognitive-behavioral strategies for the assessment and treatment of suicidal youth, and Attachment-based Family Therapy.  These trainings are offered to treatment providers that work with high-risk youth in school and/or community settings.  Clinical trainings offered through the project are typically coordinated at the county-level.

Suicide Risk Assessment and Cognitive Behavior Strategies for Youth at Risk

This one or two-day course provides an overview of suicide risk assessment strategies and treatment skills conducive for working with depressed and suicidal teens. The trainer provides a review diagnostic tools that will aid the clinician in determining diagnostic impressions, assessing and monitoring suicidality, safety planning, and determining appropriate level of care. Effective CBT treatment strategies are then discussed and illustrated. Special emphasis is placed on helping therapists collaboratively prioritize and individualize interventions and establish a continuum of care.

This training is provided by Kim Poling, LCSW, from the Services for Teens at Risk (STAR) Center in Pittsburgh, PA.  More information about the STAR Center is available here.

Attachment-based Family Therapy (ABFT) Introductory Workshop

ABFT is the only manualized, empirically informed family therapy model specifically designed to target family and individual processes associated with adolescent suicide and depression. ABFT emerges from interpersonal theories that suggest adolescent depression and suicide can be precipitated, exacerbated or buffered against by the quality of interpersonal relationships in families. It is a trust-based, emotion-focused psychotherapy model that aims to repair interpersonal ruptures and rebuild an emotionally protective, secure-based parent–child relationship.

On Day One, participants are offered an overview of the model including theoretical principles and clinical strategies. Faculty will review how attachment theory, emotion regulation, and trauma resolution inform the delivery of this experiential treatment approach. We also review the goals and structure of the five treatment tasks that provide a road map for delivering this interpersonally focused psychotherapy effectively and rapidly. For those interested in more intensive training, Days Two and Three provide a more in-depth look at the procedures and process involved in facilitating the therapy. Enrollment for Day One is unlimited (as permitted by space), while Days Two and Three have limited enrollment. 

The full three day workshop is the beginning of a two year credentialing program for those interested in ongoing supervision. Commitment to continue is not required for participation.

This workshop is presented by the Drexel University ABFT Training Program at the Center for Family Intervention Sciences in Philadelphia, PA.  More information about Drexel’s ABFT Training Program is available here.

Suicide Prevention Online Learning Center

This Suicide Prevention Online Learning Center is designed to provide current and evidence-based information to anyone who may come into contact with individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviors, including educators, mental health professionals, medical professionals, and the general community.

A range of suicide prevention trainings are offered at no cost through the Suicide Prevention Online Learning Center, including many trainings developed and recorded through the GLS grant.  A sample of trainings available on the site is listed below:

  • Act 71-related trainings
    • Act 71 Policy Webinar
    • Youth Suicide Prevention for Educators Course (8 classes)
    • School and Community-based Prevention Interventions to Prevent Adolescent Suicide
  • School and Community Mental Health Professionals
    • Assessment and Clinical Management of Suicidal Youth
    • Effective Safety Plans
    • Concussions, Depression, and Suicidal Risk: Assessment and Clinical Management
    • Legal and Ethical Issues in Assessing and Treating Youth and Young Adults At-Risk of Suicide


When visiting the site for the first time, users must click the “login” tab to register, creating a username and password.  Then, click the “All Courses” tab to view all site content.  Any trainings that users complete will be documented on a transcript that may be downloaded, and some courses will offer printable certificates.  Please be sure to review the site’s FAQs to address questions regarding registration and site content.




  • Health Care Professionals
    • Integrating Behavioral Health Services with Primary Care
    • Pharmacotherapy of Pediatric Anxiety and Depression
  • Other
    • In Search of a Safer World: How Can We Protect Our Youth from Gun Violence?
    • Method Restriction: Primary Care and Public Health Approaches


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Contact The GLS Team

If you, or someone you know, is in Emotional Distress or thinking about Suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number at 988 or contact Crisis Text Line by texting "PA" to 741-741.

To learn more about the project and how to get involved, please contact

Perri Rosen, PhD, NCSP | Project Director, Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Grant Department of Human Services | Office of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services Bureau of Children’s Behavioral Health

T: 717-772-7858 [office]
T: 717-303-4611 [mobile]

This site was funded under award SM061750 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Prevent Suicide PA, nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. Additionally, the Garrett Lee Smith grant team does not specifically endorse any one model or program related to suicide prevention.