Saint Peter’s College

Saint Peter's College
Garrett Lee Smith Campus
New Jersey

The proposed Suicide Prevention Project at Saint Peter’s College is a collaborative project among the following agencies: (1) Saint Peter’s College (2) Asian Resource Center for Families & Children, and (3) Best Practices for Children & Families (Servicio Mejores para Ninos y Familia). In addition, Saint Peter’s College has a formal affiliation agreement with Jersey City Medical Center for the latter to provide medical, mobile crisis intervention service and inpatient psychiatric treatment.

Saint Peter’s College, located in Jersey City, has the unique distinction of being the only private college in New Jersey that is a U.S. Department of Education-designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). Saint Peter’s College serves a predominantly local student pool, with more than 40% living within 10 miles of the college’s main campus in Jersey City, New Jersey. The total college enrollment is 3,282 with the following racial/ethnic breakdown: 40.6% White Non-Hispanic, 28.6% Hispanic, 19,7% African American, 7.1% Asian/Pacific Islander, and 0.3% American Indian/Alaskan Native. Jersey City, the second largest city in New Jersey, has an ethnically diverse population of 240,055: 34.0% White, 28.3% Black, 16.2% Asian/Pacific Islander, and 21.1% Other Race (US Census, 2000). In 2000, 28.3% of the population was of Hispanic origin.

The primary goals of the proposed project are to prevent suicide among students attending Saint Peter’s College, and reduce problems associated with suicide including depression and alcohol abuse. These goals will be achieved through the implementation of the following activities: an enhanced and more culturally sensitive training program for peer educators, faculty and staff to respond to students with mental health and substance abuse problems; a cadre of trained peer educators to assist current counseling staff in the implementation of project activities including a suicide response plan patterned after the University of Idaho’s Suicide Behavior Response Plan; annual ethnic diversity & mental health wellness fair; and educational workshops on suicide prevention, identification, and reduction of risk factors. A unique feature of the proposed project is an active outreach to families of Hispanic students to educate them on the college experience (to enhance Hispanic student retention); and to teach them skills to reduce parent-child conflicts (a major cause of suicidal behaviors among adolescent Hispanic females). A two-part evaluation (process and outcome) will be conducted by Dr. Fred Andes, Associate