Lipscomb University proposes “Through our LENS” (Learning, Engagement, Network, Safety) project. This project will raise awareness about suicide prevention through new programming servicing veteran students, minority students, and students with disabilities, will “train the trainers” in “Question, Persuade, Refer” (QPR), and will produce a professional-quality video addressing mental health topics in an engaging way for young adults that can be used by other universities.
In Fall 2013, Lipscomb University experienced the first suicide to take place on its campus in decades when an undergraduate male student took his life in his on-campus dorm room. The campus community drew together in a strong way to openly discuss mental health with the student body and to offer a variety of public and private sessions to help students, faculty, and staff deal with the event and its aftermath. Lipscomb’s Counseling Center led these initiatives with strong support and direction from the university administration, the president himself being intimately involved in the issue for a lengthy period of time.
Since then, the number of clients seeking Lipscomb’s Counseling Center services has more than tripled (from 71 in Fall 2013 to 254 in Fall 2014). Due to this significant increase in demand for mental health services, Lipscomb’s Counseling Center has made it a priority to focus on building capacity within the Center to deal with crisis as well as empowering the campus at large with the infrastructure necessary to implement a suicide prevention plan and sustain that plan throughout the coming years. The Campus Suicide Prevention Grant from SAMHSA will enable Lipscomb to build the capacity and infrastructure, and Lipscomb’s leadership is committed to sustaining the crisis protocols and the programming begun under this grant beyond the duration of the requested funding. The goals of the program are to increase awareness of suicide prevention and mental health in the Lipscomb community and increase the capacity to provide effective suicide prevention and mental health resources. Each year of the project, Lipscomb will train 900 freshman students in QPR, 200 faculty and staff in mental health topics, and will reach the entire student population of 4,000 with mental health awareness messages. The collection of data from surveys will detect the percentage of awareness before and after the dissemination of materials, training and seminars that are a result of the grant to the populations at risk in the Lipscomb community (veterans, minorities, people with disabilities, and students with substance abuse issues), as well as the overall campus population.