The Rollins College Suicide Prevention Project will increase institutional capacity to implement, sustain, and improve effective identification, intervention and prevention services for students at risk for the development of suicidal behavior, serious mental illness, and/or substance related overuse or injury. The primary purpose of this project is to build necessary infrastructure to allow the Rollins Wellness Center to effectively respond to an alarming rate of suicidal ideation and mental illness among students on campus. While this project will aim to address the entire campus’ vulnerability to suicide and substance use disorders, there are several populations identified as being particularly vulnerable. These include a growing number of students of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students; student veterans; and those with pre-existing mental health conditions.
The project’s overall goal of building a comprehensive, collaborative, well-coordinated, and evidence-based approach to suicide prevention will be achieved through six key activities over the three-year period:
- creating a network infrastructure to link Rollins College with appropriate care providers from the community;
- training gatekeepers (students, faculty, and staff) to respond effectively to those at-risk for suicide
- administering effective voluntary screenings and assessments;
- providing outreach and information to promote suicide prevention efforts, encourage help-seeking, and increase awareness of crisis resources;
- providing mental and substance use disorders prevention and treatment services to college students by employing appropriately trained staff; and
- developing and supporting evidence-based and emerging best practices, including a focus on culturally and linguistically appropriate care.
The activities undertaken will support an estimated 3,200 college students, staff, and faculty annually and over 5,000 students throughout the life of the project. The project will focus on the following core strategies: development of an advisory board of on- and off-campus care providers and experts in suicide and mental health; enhancing the existing QPR Gatekeeper program, including the addition of supplemental gatekeeper programs (i.e., Mental Health First Aid); increased promotion of screening tools currently in place; implementation of universal screening for depression, anxiety and suicide ideation at all Rollins Wellness Center appointments; and extensive outreach aimed at increasing help-seeking, decreasing high-risk behaviors such as binge drinking, and increasing awareness of resources. The project will also conduct focus group research with students from identified high-risk populations to increase awareness and understanding of the unique needs, barriers and protective factors of, and most effective strategies for reaching these targeted students. Lastly, the project will adopt evidence-based practices focused on the mental health and well-being of college students of color and train all Wellness Center mental health providers to engage in culturally competent, best practice treatment of suicide, severe mental health and substance abuse.