Massachusetts Maritime Academy
Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) requests funds to support a comprehensive suicide prevention program with the goals of educating the campus community on suicide risk behavior prevention, recognition, and intervention, developing and supporting healthy coping mechanisms among students to reduce suicide risk factors, and enhancing institutional resources for students at risk, strengthening the college’s capacity to respond effectively to students in need.
MMA educates men and women to serve in the maritime industry. It is one of six state maritime colleges in the United States. Resident life is regimented, and all cadets are required to undergo rigorous training and spend a portion of their academic program at sea. These demanding circumstances coupled with the expected demands of college life present unique challenges for MMA cadets. The academic year 2004-2005 was the first time MMA offered a licensed counselor on campus for eight hours a week. While we are experiencing a positive impact as a result, there remains a vast gap between what exists and what is needed.
The objectives to achieve the goals of the MMA Comprehensive Suicide Prevention program are the following: (1) Train key personnel as Gatekeeper trainers who will then train staff, faculty and students to respond effectively to students with mental health and behavioral problems; (2) create a critical incident response plan and networking infrastructure including, but not limited to a suicide hotline and a comprehensive website; (3) create a full time position for a counselor on campus increasing intervention options for students at risk and to provide educational seminars and mental health awareness opportunities for all students; (4) implement a comprehensive “Freshman 101” course focusing on developing healthy coping skills during the first semester at college that will decrease the stress of transition and ensure personal and academic success; (5) prepare and disseminate suicide risk informational and educational materials for students andfamilies of students.