Purdue University

Purdue University
Garrett Lee Smith Campus

The purpose of ALIVE (Awareness Linking Individuals to Valuable Education) @ Purdue is to prevent adverse outcomes (i.e., suicide, suicide attempts, academic attrition) for students with depression and suicide risk by increasing the likelihood that they will be connected with appropriate services. ALIVE @ Purdue is designed to initiate a comprehensive environmental change around attitudes toward help seeking. The theory-based project involves the innovative use of graduate students in counseling as educators to train resident assistants and provide direct outreach to students in residence halls, enhanced by the implementation of a supporting media campaign. ALIVE @ Purdue has the potential to reach 11,000 students a year with its message.

ALIVE Purdue has two specific goals. Goal one is to increase the likelihood that RAs will identify and refer at-risk students. Goal two is to improve the help-seeking behavior of at-risk students. To accomplish these goals, ALIVE @ Purdue will design and deliver RA training and direct outreach programs and a media campaign (Web sites, public service announcements, bulletin board kits, ads on Facebook.com, etc.) that address (a) knowledge about mental health and behavioral problems and resources, (b) attitudes toward help seeking, and (c) skills in referring at-risk students. The program uses the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB, Ajzen, 1991) as a theoretical framework to guide program development and evaluation. Graduate students in College Student Personnel and Counseling Psychology will be trained as ALIVE @ Purdue Educators to deliver RA training and outreach programs.

The division of program activities into these two goals, while necessary for clarity of program delivery and evaluation, obscures the synergistic nature of the ALIVE @ Purdue program. The components of ALIVE @ Purdue work together to increase RAs’ effectiveness as mental health gatekeepers. The program provides RAs with enhanced training in the areas of suicide, suicide risk, and the art of referral; it also provides them with previously non-existing tools in the form of outreach programming and the media campaign. The media campaign creates greater receptivity on the part of students at risk to outreach efforts and to RA referrals.

ALIVE @ Purdue represents a collaborative effort between the academic programs in College Student Personnel and Counseling Psychology and Purdue’s Counseling and Psychological Services center with support and cooperation from University Residences, Purdue’s Assessment Research Center, and the Lafayette Crisis Center.