Florida Memorial University

Florida Memorial University Campus Suicide Prevention Initiative

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.