New York probation offices screen youth for suicide risk

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Probation offices across New York have started screening young offenders for risk of suicide as a way to connect them with mental health services.

Ten counties in upstate New York are participating in the program, developed by researchers at Columbia University.

The project, called e-Connect, will mainly screen youths 17 and younger. Albany County probation department official Colleen Breslin says some 18-year-olds may be included.

Probation officials say the program will streamline access to mental health services at a time when research shows teenage and young adult suicide rates have been rising nationally.

Officials hope that addressing young offenders' mental health needs will help cut down their chances of getting in trouble in the future.

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