The “We Are One Albany State University (ASU)” project seeks to develop a multi-disciplinary team of students, faculty, staff, administrators and community partners to develop the infrastructure for suicide and substance use prevention and increase the system capacity to enhance and sustain effective prevention programs and services which support SAMSHA’s Strategic Initiative of increasing awareness and understanding mental and substance use disorders. ASU is a Historically Black Institution (HBCU) located in rural Southwest Georgia. In December 2016, the University System of Georgia granted approval for the creation of the new ASU from the consolidation of Albany State University an HBCU and Darton State College (DSC) an institution with an access mission, effective January, 2017. The Fall 2017 enrollment for ASU was 6615 of which 71.1% were females, 70% were African Americans, 2.4% were Hispanics, 22% were Caucasians, 0.9% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 1.4% were multiracial; 0.3% were American Indian/Alaska Native and 2.9% did not report their race/ethnicity. A majority of students are first-generation learners, 54% lived on campus and 97% received some form of financial aid. The average age for undergraduates is 23.8. (BOR, 2017). About 5% of the student population is active duty military personnel, veterans or families of veterans. The goals of the project are: (1) create comprehensive infrastructure and collaborative networking; (2) increase knowledge of prevention of suicides, mental and substance use disorders; (3) promote help-seeking behaviors and reduce stigma and negative public attitudes towards mental health; and (4) create a campus community “We Are One ASU,” where the ommunity is engaged in assuring that each student experiencing mental distress is identified, screened and referred. The project will serve participants by offering training, programs and activities related to mental and substance use disorders and offer information on campus and community mental health resources. The project will provide direct training for at least 500 students and 50 key stakeholders each year and provide other programs, activities and services to at least 1000 students and other stakeholders each year for a total of at least 4650 participants over the life of the grant. The project activities will include: (1) create a Suicide Prevention Coalition of ASU and community partners; (2) offer activities, trainings and programs to prevent substance abuse disorders; (3) offer culturally appropriate training program (Kognito and QPR) to reduce stigma associated with seeking care; (4) reevaluate the present crisis response plan to accommodate the needs of the new ASU; and (5) distribute culturally appropriate informational materials that address warning signs of suicide, describe risk and protective factors, and identify appropriate actions to take when a student is in distress. The project will ensure that the needs of students at high-risk including, but not limited to LGBT, military family members and veterans are met.
Grantee Types: HBCU
University of the District of Columbia
The proposed Suicide Prevention Project addresses SAMHSA’s Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness Strategic Initiative. Authorized under the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, this Campus Suicide Prevention Grant is designed to support a broad-range of activities and partner with other campus entities including behavior health grants that promote overall well-being. The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) plans to utilize the Kogntio At-Risk platform to focus on trainings that address stigma, lack of mental health awareness and education, false cultural beliefs, distrust of professionals, shame, and spiritual concerns, potential barriers to seeking mental health treatment.UDC has two overarching goals for this Suicide Prevention Project, to: 1) Provide Suicide Prevention training to the university community and; 2) Improve campus suicide prevention awareness by increasing the numbers of students, faculty, and staff exposed to mental health promotion and suicide prevention resources. Through a series of internal and external partnerships, this project will emphasize the use of Kognito At-Risk trainings which include 1) building skills and motivation to identify, approach, and refer students exhibiting signs of suicidal ideation, substance use/abuse, and psychological distress, including depression and anxiety, to relevant support services on- and off-campus, 2) reducing stigma about mental disorders, and increasing the recognition that suicide prevention is everyone’s responsibility, 3) increasing help-seeking behaviors among students and reducing negative attitudes for seeking care for mental and substance use disorders among students, and 4) building knowledge about on- and off-campus behavioral health services including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Veterans, LBGTQ, and students will be targeted for participation. These groups are known to be at increased risk for suicidal ideation. The project proposes an unique collaboration between administration, faculty, staff, and students.Evaluation of the project will be provided by an advisory group including internal and external representatives. Data will be collected on a monthly basis and reported on the SAMHSA according to the guidelines and provisions of the grant. An evaluator will provide formative and summative evaluation of the project outcomes, including quantitative and quantity measures especially to determine what is replicable with other post-secondary institutions in the U.S.
North Carolina Central University
The North Carolina Central University Honest Conversations in Safe Spaces Suicide Prevention Program will strengthen NCCU’s capacity and infrastructure to provide coordinated behavioral health programming that promotes mental health and suicide prevention. This comprehensive program will include campus/community collaborations, gate keeper training, and mental health promotion programming that targets those students considered at greater risk of suicide. Using a public health model, the project will bring together community and campus stakeholders as members of a Suicide Prevention Coordinating Committee which will be tasked with developing a comprehensive suicide prevention effort that includes the development of a suicide response protocol that campus mental health professionals and other administrators will follow when working with students with suicidal behavior and an organized tracking or monitoring system for those students. In addition, to reduce the risk of suicidal behavior, the proposed program will implement specific mental health promotion interventions and strategies to reduce risk factors associated with suicide, while also enhancing protective factors. While these strategies will be available to the entire NCCU student population of mostly African American students, a special focus will be placed on programming with targeted groups of students who are considered at high risk for suicide, including students who identify as LGBTQ, students with disabilities and veterans and military affiliated students. Goals for the program are described as follows:
• To assemble a network of collaborators, a Suicide Prevention Coordinating Committee, who will provide advice, collaboration and resources for the development and implementation of suicide prevention initiatives and a written protocol for responding to students in crisis.
• To produce and distribute to students, faculty, staff, written material and media messages related to mental health and suicide prevention.
• To develop and provide to NCCU’s gatekeepers training that increases the campus community’s awareness of risk and protective factors of suicide, promotes help seeking behavior, and reduces stigma related to mental health and substance abuse disorders.
• To develop and deliver culturally relevant programming which increases the awareness of mental health and substance abuse and reduces the stigma attached to mental health and mental health treatment with the general student population and with the targeted high risk groups. Specific interventions include focus groups with students from the targeted groups to achieve cultural competence of programs and materials, signature campus wide health promotion events, and on-line interactive training tools specifically designed for the targeted groups.
Jackson State University
Jackson State University’s Metro Jackson Community Prevention Coalition in collaboration with the Latasha Norman Center for Counseling & Psychological Services will implement the Crisis Prevention Resource (CPR) Project. CPR is designed to prevent suicide attempts and completions through a comprehensive approach which will enhance the infrastructure of mental health service, suicide prevention, and crisis management on Jackson State University’s campus. The project targets, students, faculty, staff, administrators, and parents to reduce risk for suicide and promote protective factors. The project’s objective is to reduce suicide attempts and completions among: residential/first year students, upperclassman, racial/ethnic minority students, students with disabilities, international students, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning (LGBTIQ) students on all JSU campuses. This objective will be achieved by providing education to students, faculty, staff, administrators, and parents designed to enhance knowledge, skills and abilities to identify and refer high-risk students; identifying and respond to early warning signs and risk behaviors; promoting protective factors; increasing students’ awareness of personal risk and protective behaviors; increasing the utilization of resources for counseling and wellness within the target populations; reducing stigma of mental and behavioral health conditions; engaging students, faculty, staff, parents and other key individuals and constituencies in leadership roles to facilitate suicide prevention within the target populations; and promoting a wellness program on all campuses, specifically targeting the high-risk populations. Specific activities implemented include: providing gatekeeper training to all residence hall staff, student leaders, and paraprofessionals; adapting and providing gatekeeper training for individuals serving the target populations; producing a social marketing campaign to educate gatekeepers, students, and parents; establishing and sustaining a university-wide suicide prevention coalition with representation by students, gatekeepers, faculty, staff and parents involved with the target populations; organizing an active group of students representing the target populations as peer educators and project consultants; promoting and providing an online wellness assessment; and promoting and providing a counseling center-based 4-session wellness group on all campuses.
Howard University’s (HU) Department of Psychiatry and the University Counseling Service have developed the Suicide Prevention Action Group (SPAG). The overall goals of the project are to: (1) maintain and support the increase in HU students’ help seeking behavior; (2) decrease suicidal behavior among HU students at all levels of matriculation; and (3) decrease the stigmatization of mental health seeking behaviors against any HU student at risk of suicide. Project objectives include: (l) to continue and maintain the training of campus wide personnel who interact with HU students who may be at risk for suicide; (2) to deliver effective training for all HU resident assistants (RAs) in campus dormitories and first responders in the HU Hospital, mainly nurses and emergency room staff; (3) to implement an on-line training curriculum for incoming freshmen that will be proceeded by semester long dormitory-based discussions led by the RAs; and (4) to improve SPAG’s existing strategies of education and outreach to new and existing students, and their parents. Target audience for SPAG’s campus-wide program will be all incoming first-year students, resident assistants, and HU Hospital nurses and emergency room staff.
Howard University’s Department of Psychiatry and the University Counseling Service have collaborated and established a comprehensive suicide prevention program entitled Suicide Prevention Action Group (SPAG). Goals and Objectives: The overall goals for SPAG is to increase help seeking behavior, to decrease suicidal behavior, and decrease stigma associated with students seeking mental health treatment. Objectives include the following: (1) Training for recognition of at risk behavior and delivery of effective treatment. Each training module is intended to meet specific needs throughout the campus community by developing programs for students, campus personnel and mental health personnel including those in the emergency division of the Howard University Hospital; (2) Improve our existing strategies of education and outreach to new and existing students and parents by developing supplementary informative literature to be disseminated. Further outreach will be executed by organizing a one day symposium for students once a year; developing a video by and for students on help seeking behavior and stigma of mental disorders; and African Americanizing the QPR trigger video to be shown before each training session by the gatekeeper instructors. We anticipate a more educated faculty and staff on how to recognize a student in suicidal crisis and how to obtain help for that student in a careful and sensitive way that will not traumatize the student and the faculty or staff involved. We expect an outcome of more students being open about their mental health and uncover the dilemma of seeking help without feeling stigmatized
Florida Memorial University
The Florida Memorial University (FMU) Campus Suicide Prevention Initiative is aimed at developing a comprehensive approach to preventing suicide among the students and enhancing services for those with mental and substance use disorders. Underlying this approach is the use of evidenced-based training programs to educate and increase the awareness of students and campus personnel about the risk factors associated with suicide and how to respond in those inneed of mental health services. Related to this overarching goal are those mandated by the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP) most of which are incorporated in the present grant. The project aims at serving students at FMU, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) located in the greater Metropolitan Miami Gardens area. The population consists of approximately 1,700 students, the majority of which face significant social and economic related challenges; 66% are first generation college students and 65% have a family income of less than $30,000. In terms of ethnicity, 82% are Black, 5% are Hispanic, and 13% other races and ethnicities. The gender composition of the student population is 37% male and 63% female. Approximately 20% of the students are International students mostly from the Caribbean and Latin America. It is estimated that 9% of the students identify themselves as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Trans-sexual (LGBT). In terms of the clinical characteristics of the students, survey data indicate that there is a vital need for the development of initiatives that promote mental health and prevents suicide and suicide related disorders such as depression and substance use. It has been found, for instance that 59% percent of the students sampled said they felt depressed sometimes to all the time; 5% said they had thought about suicide in the past year, while another 5% indicated that they attempted suicide in the past year. Moreover, the survey found that (81.5%) of the students believed that alcohol was a problem on campus, while 82.5% believe marijuana was a problem on campus (Stephenson and Beckerman, 2012). In terms of prevalence of substance use it was found that 48.8 % of the students indicated that they had used alcohol in the past 30 days while, 24.4% said they used marijuana in the past 30 days. In addressing the mental and behavioral health needs of this population, the project hopes to achieve a series of objectives and employ a set of strategies which includes establishing partnerships with variouson campus and community organizations, developing an Advisory Board, providing internal constituent evidenced based training on suicide prevention, developing educational seminars, develop a Crisis Response Plan that incorporates the promotion of the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, conducting health screenings, and developing an awareness and Information Campaigns to inform members of the campus community and families of students about mental health disorders and suicide, risk and protective factors, and how to seek help. It is expected that at least 900 students and 100 faculty and staff will be served annually and 2020 individuals over a three year period in terms of either receiving training or being informed about suicide prevention and related risk factors such as substance use and depression, being screened, referred for counseling, or receive counseling services.
Edward Waters College
Edward Waters College, a small historical black liberal arts college located in the urban core of the city of Jacksonville, Florida, will create a Campus Wide Suicide Prevention Program. Specifically, the college will develop an infrastructure within its existing Counseling Center to create a network of key gatekeepers, student leaders, and community behavioral health partners who will design and implement a strategic plan that will reduce or eliminate risk factors that predispose students to suicidal ideation and prevent suicidal attempts and other behavioral health problems. This network will be known as Project Care. Project Care’s major objectives include: a) providing QPR training to college administrators, faculty, staff, and student leaders; b) facilitating educational seminars and cultural diversity workshops to students, their parents, faculty, and staff on the myths and stigma associated with suicide and depression; c) promoting help-seeking behaviors within the student body by replacing the negative attitudes of the behavioral health systems held by many African-Americans; d) distributing informational literature on suicide and depression throughout the campus and at all organized student activities including Chaplain services; e) strengthening the relationships of off-campus community behavioral health providers; and f) providing educational information to parents on campus, over the Internet, and through mail, and establishing a Campus Wide Suicide Help Line.
Bluefield State College
The purpose of the Bluefield State College CARES (Creating Awareness Regarding Suicide) Program is to address suicidal ideation on campus and in the community through a comprehensive program of awareness and early intervention.
Located in the southern West Virginia coal fields, Bluefield State College is a commuter school that serves a region replete in suicide risk factors, including substance abuse, gender identity, and mental health disorders. BSC CARES will (A) formalize a suicide-crisis response protocol; (B) broaden awareness of risk factors and behaviors through gatekeeper training, student seminars and publications/advertisements; and (C) expand access to mental health and suicide prevention services and resources. Efforts will extend beyond campus in the form of (D) providing risk factor awareness and response training to public points of contact such as nurses, teachers and foster parents and (E) providing multiple points of access to the local mental services infrastructure. BSC CARES expects to reach 50% of the population at Bluefield State College campus while reaching out to the community at an estimate of 500-1000 individuals per year.
Bethune Cookman University
Bethune-Cookman University, a historical black university associated with the United Methodist Church seeks SAMHSA funding to establish a Campus Wide Suicide Prevention Program. Specifically, the university will develop an infrastructure within its Office of Student Affairs to establish a network of key gatekeepers, including health, mental health, residence hall, and security staff, faculty, administrators, student government leaders and community behavioral health partners who will design and implement a strategic plan to diminish or eliminate risk factors that predispose students to suicidal ideation and prevent suicidal attempts and other behavioral health problems. This network of services will be known as Project STEPS-Survival Through Education Prevention and Services.
Project STEPS’s major objectivesinclude: a) providing Q(question) P(persuade) and R(refer) training to key gatekeepers, students and their parents; b) facilitating educational seminars and cultural diversity workshops to students, their parents, faculty, and staff on the myths and stigma associated with suicide and depression, c) promoting help-seeking behaviors within the student body by replacing the negative attitudes of the behavioral health systems held by many African-Americans, d) distributing informational literature on suicide and depression throughout the campus and at all organized student activities; e) strengthening the relationships of off-campus community behavioral health providers, and f) providing educational information to parents on campus, over the Internet, through mail, and through a Campus Wide Suicide Hot Line. Project STEPS has selected this as the bedrock of its training/educational seminars and workshops for administrators, faculty, and staff, gatekeepers, the student body and their parents. The QPR approach to training utilizing various levels within a community is compatible with Project STEP’s philosophy of serving the campus where at-risk students reside as opposed to identifying individual students in need. QPR training recognizes that students who most need help in a suicidal crisis are the least likely to seek it, or demonstrate warning signs of their distress. Therefore, the project will have a special focus on entering freshmen and their parents or caregivers, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
The project will serve an average of 1200 students and 150 faculty and staff over the life of the project. Programming will improve the quality and intensity of services for the target populations through implementation of “best practice”Â suicide prevention approaches, modified to address the unique needs of a predominantly African-American student body. Services will be implemented through a system of care emphasizing a person-centered, strength-based approach to self harm with family involvement and peer support. The project will promote a prevention delivery system that addresses student body, familial, faculty and staff needs anchored in HBCU tradition and in nearby communities where participants reside, to ensure continuity of care.