Ohlone Community College District

STEP Up Mental Health Program
Garrett Lee Smith Campus

The purpose of Ohlone College’s Campus Suicide Prevention Grant is to create a healthy and empowered Ohlone College campus community by maximizing opportunities to integrate and coordinate suicide prevention activities across multiple campus departments and disciplines.  STEP Up Ohlone’s goal is to strengthen the college’s infrastructure to create a safe space where students feel supported and socially connected, and to promote mental health as a key element in the academic success of our students. 

Population served: The proposed project is to serve the students of Ohlone College, which has an enrollment of approximately 10,270 students per year, as well as 209 staff and 493 full and part time faculty members.  Ohlone is proud of its ethnically diverse student population, which comprises 48% Asian Pacific Islander (API), 26% White, 18% Hispanic, 5% African American, with the remaining as other or unknown.  More than 6 out of 10 (61%) students are between 18-24 years of age, or what is known as the emerging adulthood, while 23% are between ages 25-39, and 1 in 6 (17%) are ages 40 or older.  Ohlone attracts more than 400 international students from almost 30 countries each year and serve approximately 200 deaf/hard of hearing students. 

Clinical characteristics: In a previous American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment, within the last 12 months, 16% of Ohlone students reported feeling overwhelming anxiety, 6% considered suicide, and 2% attempted suicide.  In another recent survey, nearly 4 in 10 (38%) Ohlone students reported that fear or embarrassment would prevent them from seeking mental health services, highlighting the need for dialogue on mental health and the normalization of help-seeking behaviors.

Measurable objectives, strategies and interventions: Strategies to achieve project goals include [1] integrating suicide prevention training and activities that touches the values, culture, and leadership of a broad range of academic affairs, administrative services, and student service departments to promote mental health and wellness; [2] employing different media platforms to increase communication efforts that promote positive messages and support safe crisis intervention strategies; [3] increase knowledge of the warning signs for suicide and of how to connect individuals in crisis with assistance and care through implementation of three screening programs, including the promotion of the national, veterans-focus, and local crisis hotlines; [4] disseminate guidance for journalism and other communication disciplines students regarding how to address consistent and safe messaging on suicide and related behaviors in their curricula.  Approximately 800 faculty, staff, and students will be served through trainings and events, and a viewership audience of about 8,000 individuals who will have listened to, read, and/or integrated suicide prevention and mental health messages over the course of three years.