Dallas County Community College District/Eastfield College
According to the institution’s Counseling Services data, students enrolled at Eastfield College in the Dallas County Community College District are at a greater risk for suicide and suicide attempts that most in the state and nation-wide. The Providing Hope, Awareness, and Suicide Education (PHASE) Project will implement activities designed to minimize suicide risks among the high number of students enrolled at the institution from vulnerable populations.
Thirty-eight percent (38%) of deaths by suicide in the U.S. among 15-24 year olds were among minorities, exceeded by Texas at a rate of 45% and an alarming 62% in Dallas County, the service area of the institution and proposed project. Eastfield College, is a Hispanic Service Institution designee, is a public, two-year degree-granting institution in the northeast sector of Dallas County. In addition to representing a high number of minority students, the institution’s counseling services data indicated that nearly 40 percent (39%) of student respondents served reported having a disability, exceeding the national average of college students provided mental health care at institutions of higher education who reported having a disability. Although the average enrollment of veteran students at a public institution is approximately 370, Eastfield College, a “Military Friendly School” designee as well, reported enrollment of well over 700 veterans for the past three years. Furthermore, approximately 11% of student respondents served by Eastfield Counseling Services identified themselves as having a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) sexual orientation, again exceeding the average of LGBTQ students served in college counseling centers throughout the nation.
As a result, in addition to the general student population, the P.H.A.S.E. Project will:
- Create a networking infrastructure to link the institution and students to resources and mental health care providers,
- Develop gatekeeper training programs for students, faculty and staff to increase suicide prevention and suicide crisis response,
- Develop and implement educational seminars for students, faculty and staff to increase awareness and prevent suicide, and
- Disseminate materials to increase awareness regarding suicide risks, substance abuse, and depression as well as promote help-seeking and reduce negative attitudes and behaviors regarding mental and substance abuse disorders.
Effectiveness of the project will increase on- and off-campus partnerships by at least 50%; participation of at least 75% of campus health, mental health, public safety, and other crisis response personnel in gatekeeper training; participation of at least 200 faculty and staff in educational workshops; and at least 3,000 students (approximately 1,000 each year) with increased awareness of suicide risks and prevention resources.