The Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group (KSPG) has established them as a program that helps with suicide prevention. According to KSPG the program began as a planning group and has developed into in a group program (2008). During the planning process a needs assessment was performed at the beginning phase and was included in the evaluation plan. Information was collected throughout the beginning phase to answer why, who, how, what, and when during the needs analysis. Also Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group used evaluation design to conduct beginning phase of program planning. Needs Assessment
“Needs assessment is the process of collecting information about an expressed or implied organizational need that could be met by conducting training” (Unknown, 2007). Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group used needs assessment to develop a strategy to help reduce deaths by suicide in the state of Kentucky. In the beginning KSPG studied the suicide rate by comparing the suicide rate to surrounding states. This was performed so KSPG can get enough data and to measure the needs as well as the feasibility of the program. Kentucky reported that the death rate by suicide is sixty-nine percent. This also helped KSPG in decision making such as target areas, planning for future interventions, and seeing patterns develop across the state.
Another approach that KSPG used was social indicator of needs by accessing records from the Center for Disease Control which gave the program many variables that can indicate unmet needs. While evaluating variables understanding unmet needs KSPG has realized that Kentucky has the highest rates of death by suicide amongst the United States general population. Having this information readily available helped in the planning phase of the suicide prevention group and gave vital information when the business plan was taken to Washington D.C. to have the plan assessed and to receive needed information in order to assist the group in the planning process. Role of Needs Assessment
The role of needs assessments makes the program measurable and fundable. This approach helps the Kentucky Suicide Prevention Program establish the potentials of the program and demonstrate the basis for their plan when they requested financial assistance from government agencies, foundations, and stakeholders of the program. The assessment provided a baseline of information that outlined the need for funding as well as provided the basis for future assessments. The completed needs assessment allowed for KSPG to be more effective in utilizing resources. In the beginning statistics and information from the assessment of needs helped with getting attention from media. This caused the state to take immediate action and also brought awareness of the program to the state.
Another role of needs assessment is to measure the short-term and the long-term needs of the program. Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group uses yearly progress report track trends of the program and the “success rate” of the program. Also KSPG conduct surveys every two years to explore various high risk factors associated with suicide in Kentucky. “A straightforward way to estimate community needs is simply to ask people about their needs” (Carey & Povosac, 2007). Data and surveys play an important part in the needs assessment process. The data obtained determines the extent of suicide in the state of Kentucky as well as establish future needs and program training, and measure if the program is achieving their goals and objectives.
There are many approaches to evaluations when it comes to planning and implementing a program evaluation. The recommended approach for the Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group is the objective-based evaluation. This type of evaluation is designed to emphasize the stated goals and objectives which in this case is to advocate for suicide prevention efforts, educate to develop and implement education strategies, develop and implement marketing and public relations strategies, develop and expand community suicide prevention, and to secure funding for suicide prevention efforts which can be tied directly to the goals of awareness, intervention, as well as methodology. Measuring the outcomes and progress of the KSPG determines whether the programs standards are being met such as state laws and regulations. Other expectations of the Kentucky Suicide Prevention program evaluation model are awareness and prevention and improvements in the programs day-to-day activity as well as staff. The surveys and progress reports is how KSPG measures the programs success rates as well as develop new mechanism for staff training as well as implement and develop new programs. Data Collection Sources
The sources used for data collection for the Kentucky Suicide Prevention program are intended beneficiaries of the program, providers of service, and observers. The program participants provide information that is not available from other sources. They give close and personal reactions to the program as well as testimonies on how the program has affected their behavior. This information helps with the objective aspect of the program. Participants are given surveys about the programs effectiveness, staff, and provide information on how to improve the program. Providers of services such as staff and stakeholders give in depth information on day-to-day activity and also assess the needs of program participants. The staff is used to collect data on the overall program as well as help with program improvement and training. Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group uses observers such as significant other and family members that are close to the program participant to conduct a survey on how well the program has affected the participant as well the family.
The main focus was the change in behavior outside of the program and also the effectiveness of the program and testimonies for future participants. These sources provide information for the yearly progress report as well as guide the program in the positive direction to help KSPG meet their goals and objectives. The type of evaluation method used is a combination of quantitative and qualitative to obtain the estimates of needs and resources. The quantitative aspect of evaluation is included in the progress report by comparing the suicide rate from the previous year to the current year. KSPG also used the national suicide death rate and compared it to the state suicide rate to give a number on the death rate by suicide in the state. Qualitative approaches were used as well by having participants, staff, and stakeholders fill out surveys. The survey showed the impact of the program, methods of improvement, and behavior survey. The combination of the two gives an overall perspective of how the program is moving and helps maintain quality and effectiveness of the program. Conclusion
Identifying needs assessment in the beginning phases of program development will help KSPG maintain their goals and objective through assessments and analysis. The role of assessment is to give the program accountability. Approaches that can be used is in the evaluation process is the objective-based evaluation which focuses on the programs objective. Having sources and information will provide KSPG with ways to strategically plan the program and implement new programs in the future.
Carey, E. & Posavac, R. (2007). Program Evaluation: Method and Case Studies. Retrieved from
Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group. (2008) Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group Progress
Report. Retrieved from Kentuckysuicideprevention.org
Unknown. (2008). What is Needs Assessment. Retrieved from www.bing.com