Northern Illinois University

Building Suicide Awareness and Fostering Enhanced Resilience (B-SAFER)
Garrett Lee Smith Campus

This project involves cultivating connections between mental health providers on- and off-campus; providing training for the community; and promoting the reduction of stigma, an increase in help-seeking, and enhanced resilience. The multiple layers of the project focus on building a community of care by emphasizing the rich diversity of NIU’s student population through educational and experiential efforts.  

Target Populations: This project aims to address the needs of all community members, but specifically targets international students, LGBTQ, students of color, students with disabilities, veterans, first-generation, low-income, and students with histories of mental illness.

The B-SAFER project has the following goals:  

1. Enhance relationships with community partners both on- and off-campus through mental health task force and other professional development activities.  

2. Implement gatekeeper training (Question-Persuade-Refer) for faculty, staff, and student leaders to prepare them to identify at-risk students and respond appropriately.  

3. Develop activities and educational seminars focused on reducing stigma, increasing resilience, and enhancing social connectedness, as well as identifying students at-risk.  

4. Create physical and virtual resources to increase help seeking behavior, enhance resiliency strategies, and promote the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for students, staff, faculty, and families.  

5. Develop inclusive practices to respond to the needs of NIU’s diverse community by increasing awareness of the experiences of high risk groups.  

Six to eight NIU community members will be trained to provide Question-Persuade-Refer (QPR) training to the campus community each year.  Every faculty and staff member at NIU will receive multiple opportunities to participate in QPR training and the B-SAFER team plans to train 70% of NIU’s departments across the grant period, as well as at least 500 students each year.  In tandem with the in-person QPR training, an online, interactive module, Kognito, will be incorporated into the offerings to reach off-campus members of the NIU community.  Ongoing data collection, assessment, and performance analysis will be conducted to make adjustments and ensure effectiveness and breadth of grant-related programming.  Through the multiple modalities of training, educational programming, and marketing campaigns, the B-SAFER grant activities are expected to have a positive and enduring influence on the campus community as a whole.  Efforts will be made so that NIU can sustain this influence well beyond the grant period, promoting a caring community that focuses on thriving and resilience.