Indian River State College

PEACE (Promoting Education and Awareness about Campus Emotional Health)
Garrett Lee Smith Campus

The goal of the propose PEACE (Promoting Education and Awareness about Campus Emotional Health) program is to create a cohesive educational and crisis intervention plan at Indian River State College (IRSC) regarding the risk factors for suicide and suicide prevention including alcohol/substance abuse, domestic violence, and sexual violence. Using standardized assessment tools and college-wide mental health training, high-risk students will be identified and referred for treatment. Services and programs will be provided for students, faculty, and staff such as gatekeeper training programs, educational seminars, suicide prevention awareness informational materials, and suicide postvention. The efficacy of these programs will be reflected by the development of a wide networking infrastructure that will link IRSC with resources and health care providers from the surrounding community. Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of students is the ultimate goal of the PEACE program. Enhanced student-based outcomes are expected to be consistent with program-related education, identification of at-risk students, and assessment that incorporates treatment referrals based on psychological and behavioral needs. PEACE personnel intend to market the program to 26,867 students and employees both annually and for the lifetime of the project. Throughout the project, they will educate and screen 3,000-3,500 individuals per year. This student population includes, but is not limited to, our underserved, LGBT, military, and 180 residential students living at the college dormitory. IRSC is a community/state college serving the multicultural region of Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, and St. Lucie counties. Many of our students meet the criteria of first-generation, low-income, or disabled. These students encounter unique problems including: basic skill deficiencies, little or no time management, research, or study skills, lack of role models. and unfamiliarity with academic dialogue while simultaneously dealing with personal issues and struggles outside of college. Any of these problems can potentially cause overwhelming feelings of stress, anxiety, and/or depression. IRSC is also experiencing an increase in enrollment of returning veterans who often require specialized services to manage multiple barriers related to conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and/or Traumatic Brain Injury. Education and training efforts will focus on topics such as identifying at-risk students, developing an awareness of potential behavioral warning signs in the classroom, taking the appropriate steps in safely assisting students, and learning how to make a referral. By strengthening the College’s ability to identify and fill existing behavioral health service gaps, provide improved health assessment, to offer more diverse training, and link at-risk students with the appropriate intervention(s), student success opportunities and the overall health of IRSC will be substantially enhanced.