Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico

Suicide Prevention Program
Hispanic Serving Institution
Puerto Rico

The Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico (PCUPR) proposes the implementation of the On-Campus Suicide Prevention Program (OCSPP) at its Ponce Campus. The program will focus on the undergraduate students. CSPP will provide a variety of prevention efforts to increase awareness and knowledge on suicide prevention, enhance screening efforts and referral procedures, and enhance protocols and policies.OCSPP will be located at the Interdisciplinary Clinic for Community Services, the Pontifical Catholic Mental Health Clinic (ICCS). Founded in 1999 through an initiative of the College of Graduate Studies and Community Affairs, ICCS provides free clinical mental health services to institutional community members (students, faculty, and administrative staff). In addition, ICCS offers psychotherapy services to low income families of the Southern region of Puerto Rico.PCUPR UG enrollment is 6,171, 99% were born in Puerto Rico, their maternal language is Spanish; 72% are low income; 36% are 1st- generation college students; 345 are veterans; 461 students with disabilities; 91 foreign; their average age is 22. Most PCUPR students and employees come from urban Ponce and surrounding rural areas and municipalities.According to the CORE-PR Survey (2010) administered at PCUPR-Ponce Campus;16.1% and 18.4% male and female undergraduate students had suicidal thoughts; 41.7% male and 38% female reported loss of interest in daily activities; 60.2% and 70.2% male and female students reported lofty sadness or depression and 7.4% and 4.8% of male and female students reported suicidal attempts. From August 2009 to February 18, 2011, 416 PCUPR students received services at ICCS. 17% presented depression signs and 2% reported suicidal attempts. All of these students received psychotherapy services and/or were referred to psychiatric evaluations according with their symptoms.OCSPP will mainly address SAMHSA strategic initiatives (1) Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness; (3) Military families; and (8) Public Awareness and Support. Emphasis will be given in the following areas: a) enhance adequate institutional capacity, b) enforce linkages between on and off campus services, c) increase the number of students who will seek services, and d) promote a change of attitudes toward suicide prevention. The components of the suicide prevention program will be examined on how effective are on reducing suicide rates and raise awareness on suicide prevention. This will be done through a well-coordinated interdisciplinary team of members of the University Family (students, faculty, and administrative staff) with the support of outside collaborators.