Pennsylvania College of Technology

Penn College SPIRIT Project
Garrett Lee Smith Campus

Pennsylvania College of Technology (Penn College) is requesting funds to develop a campus-wide, comprehensive suicide prevention and intervention program. This program will include a referral network, gatekeeper training, student screenings, training for faculty and staff, social norms and social media campaigns, promotion of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, development of a suicide response plan, and programming for parents and families. The underserved or at-risk groups on which Penn College will focus its efforts are the LGBT community, racial and ethnic minorities, students with disabilities, and veterans. To oversee the project, Penn College is convening an Advisory Board of internal and external entities. The six goals of the project are:

Goal 1: Formalize a robust, networked coalition of campus and community suicide prevention resources.

Goal 2: Increase the number of students accessing mental health and substance abuse services and enhance screening of students.

Goal 3: Systematize faculty and staff professional development opportunities to engage the campus community in suicide awareness, prevention, and intervention.

Goal 4: Systematize a comprehensive, ongoing educational campaign for all students, as well as identified target subpopulations to engage the campus community in awareness, prevention, and intervention to address mental health and suicide.

Goal 5: Enhance campus community crisis response and intervention, including linkage to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Goal 6: Engage and educate parents and families as partners in the support of student mental health and suicide prevention.

With funds, Penn College will screen approximately 1,000 students annually. We will provide gatekeeper training to 200 students, faculty, and staff annually; over the grant period, approximately 450 faculty and staff will receive training; 1,500 parents will be reached annually; and by Year 3, more than 5,000 students will experience some level of mental health promotion or suicide prevention messaging. The Penn College community has experienced 11 suicides of current and former students over the last 18 months and needs funding and outside expertise to support our efforts to enhance and develop a suicide prevention and intervention plan. Overall, we expect to see an increase of 2% of students annually accessing campus Counseling Services, and we anticipate an increase of 15% in student awareness about suicide, mental health, and available services on the triennial student survey.