Niagara County Community College

Promise for Tomorrow Campus Suicide Prevention Program
Community College
New York

Niagara County Community College (NCCC), a rural community college located in western New York State, proposes to implement the NCCC Campus Suicide Prevention Program.  The goal of the program is to create a campus environment that reduces suicidality in all its forms of expression among the entire population of students. NCCC will raise awareness through education of administrators, faculty, staff, and students of the college of the signs of depression and suicidal ideation, and will promote students’ sense of belonging through the creation of targeted peer groups.  Specifically, the NCCC Suicide Prevention Program will target the at-risk populations of Veterans and their families, Native American students, and students from the LGBT community.

Niagara County is an area of 820 square miles with a population of 219,846 (2000 Census), split evenly between an urban population (111,134) and a rural population (108,712).  NCCC uniquely accommodates both rural and urban students. Countrywide, the population is 90.7% Caucasian, 6.1% Black, .9% American Indian, and 1.3% Hispanic.

Rather than focusing on the suicidal student as the problem, NCCC wishes to focus on its campus environment in an effort to reduce suicidality in all its forms of expression among the entire population of students.  Rather than simply training NCCC faculty and staff in suicide prevention techniques, NCCC will use funding through this application to hire a Project Director who will oversee the establishment of a caring social network throughout the NCCC campus.  As a result, students themselves will be exposed to suicide prevention educational seminars, college success classes, and gatekeeper training.  Additionally, funding will be used by NCCC, under the direction of the Project Director, to establish student peer groups, especially targeting the at-risk populations of Veterans and their families, Native Americans, and LGBT students.  Prior research suggest that aspects of campus life that increase students’ sense of belonging, such as established campus social/peer groups, are associated with decreased suicidal behavior.

The NCCC Campus Suicide Prevention Program will produce the following measurable objectives:  NCCC will train 448 faculty and students in mental health-related practices and activities, including mental health promotion, each year as a result of the grant; NCCC will enter into formal written inter/activities with 3 organizations, including institutions representing military veterans and their families, the LGBT community, and the Native American community; the NCCC suicide prevention project will affect the entire 6,000+ student population, and 648 students will be directly exposed to mental health awareness message; and a minimum of 100 faculty, security personnel, and students will receive Gatekeeper training in suicide prevention.