Providence College will establish a comprehensive, integrated wellness promotion and suicide prevention program, offering a full spectrum of preventative interventions, ranging from the individual to the ecological. The multi-systemic array of evidence-based strategies includes gatekeeper training (online and in-person), crisis response planning, family engagement, network building, mental health screening, community-building, promoting hotlines, and facilitating access to mental health services. We will identify and support individuals at high risk as well as bring resources and access to vulnerable groups. A public health approach will be used to establish a new level of knowledge and understanding about suicide prevention for the entire community and enhance our readiness to support those who are most vulnerable. We will introduce the Kognito online gatekeeper training module in order to build skills and help students effectively engage and refer peers who are experiencing distress. We will build on the gatekeeper paradigm by developing a new in-person gatekeeper training curriculum named PC Lifelines. PC-Lifelines will use current research to increase effectiveness of current gatekeeper models. Integrating faith-based values is a unique component of PC-Lifelines which is appropriate to Providence College, and may also be of particular interest to the hundreds of faith-based colleges and universities in the United States. The online and in-person training will be evaluated to determine possible advantages to combined training. Outcomes of this evaluation and development initiative will be widely disseminated.
Consistent with the College mission, we are determined to promote “the human flourishing of each member of the campus community.” Outreach initiatives and interventions will specifically seek out those groups most at risk for suicide and most likely to experience disparities in access to health services. These include students with mental health challenges as well as students of color, Native American students, first generation students, LGBTQ students, international students, and veterans. Our project will involve these groups as partners to build trust and to help develop suitable educational and intervention approaches. We will engage persons from diverse backgrounds with lived experience to share their stories, model recovery, reduce stigma, increase help-seeking, and inspire hope. This project will bring multiple campus resources to a new level of integration and collaboration. It will also be undertaken in partnership with off-campus organizations such as the National Association of Mental Illness/Rhode Island Chapter and the Rhode Island Department of Health. Providence area hospitals, mental health practices, and substance abuse clinics will be brought into our network of resources so we can offer coordinated and integrated care for our students. We will establish protocols, networks, training programs, and practices that will bring our suicide prevention capacity to a new level. It will become part of the culture at Providence College, a sustainable and meaningful confirmation of our commitment to health and safety.