Howard University

Suicide Prevention Action Group (SPAG)
District of Columbia

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