Plymouth State University

TEAM: Training, Education, Arts and Mental Health
Garrett Lee Smith Campus
New Hampshire

Plymouth State University (PSU) seeks to use a Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) grant to utilize local, state and national resources to build infrastructure, strengthen a climate of help seeking, reduce stigma, and increase the skills and capacity for responding to students at risk for suicide. Using best practice models offered by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, this proposal will integrate the resources from the National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI) NH Connect Project; PSU TIGER (Theatre Integrating Guidance Education and Responsibility) program; and on and off-campus providers into a comprehensive approach called TEAM: Training, Education, Arts and Mental health.

Connect is a national best practice model consisting of training, protocols, and networking designed to build a cohesive infrastructure for suicide response. The TIGER Transitions Project is an original music production based on the writings solicited from PSU students about the issues they face. The writings are then transposed into performances that build awareness about mental health issues and suicide risk; promote more effective help seeking behavior; and reduce stigma. TIGER performances will be followed by talk back sessions facilitated by Connect trainers.

The Campus Suicide Prevention Advisory Board (CSPAB) will oversee and guide TEAM. This coalition will include campus administration, counseling staff, representatives from key departments, and students. Connect staff and on and off-campus providers, under the direction of CSPAB, will offer training, consultation, protocols and forums on campus to develop the capacity to respond to students at risk and improve access to resources. These efforts will be supplemented by other educational programs and training and by the involvement of key stakeholders. Additionally, resources relating to suicide prevention such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) will be disseminated to promote awareness, help seeking and wellness through campus activities and outreach. Students involved in these aspects will ensure that the material is culturally appropriate and disseminated in ways most likely to reach students. The TEAM Project is expected to involve up to 6,000 people by the end of the grant period.

Based on high suicide rates of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender students; veterans and military members; and students from rural backgrounds, these populations will be targeted for outreach. The end result will be a campus and community environment that actively encourages stigma reduction and help seeking, reinforced by consistent, sustained best practices for suicide prevention and postvention and local and NSPL resources to support all students.