Carleton College

Carleton College GLS Campus Suicide Prevention Initiative: Everyone's Responsibility
Garrett Lee Smith Campus

“Carleton College GLS Campus Suicide Prevention Initiative: Everyone’s Responsibility” leverages existing campus services and community networks to ensure that suicide prevention is everyone’s responsibility. This ambitious program will serve all 2000 students each year, with focus on particular vulnerable populations, including LGBT students and those experiencing substance abuse and mental health problems; provide training for 200 faculty and 100 gatekeeper staff; and develop yearly communications and programs for parents. The Carleton project incorporates goals and objectives from the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP) and aims to implement a comprehensive and data-driven approach to suicide prevention, with the vision that one death is too many. Carleton project goals include:

(1) adoption of zero suicides as an aspirational goal on the Carleton College campus; and
(2) promotion of positive mental well-being as the norm on the Carleton College campus.

Carleton will facilitate a comprehensive public health approach to preventing suicide, promoting prevention as a core component of all campus health care services. The project will build essential capacity and infrastructure to support expanded efforts to promote wellness and help-seeking of all students. Demographics of target audiences include students who identify as minority (24.4%), first-generation (11.1%), and GLBT (12.1%, plus 12.2% unsure/other), and those experiencing two or more stressors in the past 12 months (41.9%). As Carleton promotes its primary goal of zero suicides, it will achieve ambitious, measurable outcomes related to four objectives:

(1) developing collaborative responsibility among campus and community partners to increase referral capacity, especially for high-risk students, and deliver the message that suicide prevention is everyone’s responsibility
(2) providing educational seminars and informational materials for students, faculty, staff, and family members;
(3)providing training to students, faculty, and staff on suicide prevention;
(4) increasing help-seeking among students, and reducing negative attitudes for seeking care for mental and substance use disorders among students.

The primary goal will be complemented by a second goal of promoting mental well-being, which will include specific outcomes related to three objectives:

(1) training students, faculty, and staff about protective factors and mental health promotion behaviors;
(2) utilizing new and existing educational seminars and materials for students, faculty, staff, and family members regarding protective factors and mental health promotion behaviors;
(3) providing sustained messaging regarding mental health awareness.

A distinctive feature of the Carleton GLS suicide prevention project will be the leadership role of the new Office of Health Promotion (OHP), whose mission is to create the healthiest possible campus environment in which all students are able to flourish. OHP strategies include advocating for health-supporting environments guided by cultural inclusion, respect, equality and equity; focusing on population-level outcomes for the prevention of high-risk behaviors; and promoting overall well-being through the use of initiatives that are evidence based and/or theory informed. The OHP also coordinates a SAMHSA “Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success” (PFS) grant to reduce drinking and marijuana abuse on the Carleton campus. The Carleton GLS Suicide Prevention project will coordinate with and support the strategies of the PFS grant.