Texas Southern University

Safety Training and Education to Prevent Suicide (STEPS)
Garrett Lee Smith Campus

SAFETY TRAINING AND EDUCATION TO PREVENT SUICIDE (STEPS) is a university-wide initiative that ultimately seeks to prevent suicide and suicide attempts on the campus of Texas Southern University (TSU). It is estimated that 1,100 college students die by suicide every year – an average of 3 a day (Kisch, Leino & Silverman, 2005) and many times that number (1.5% of the college population) report having made at least one suicide attempt (American College Health Association, 2005). Texas Souther University is a culturally diverse campus to approximately 9,000 full-time students with 97% being considered minority students, and 55% between the ages of 18-24. In order to improve awareness about suicide on college campuses, and to prevent any further incidences of suicide and suicide attempts on this Historically Black College and University (HBCU) campus of Texas Southern University, this initiative will address prevention, intervention and postvention. This initiative will certify all new Resident Assistants (RAs) with the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training for the next three years, and implement a sustaining program that will continue to training Resident Assistants in subsequent years. In addition to the RAs, other student leaders and faculty/staff will be trained, with 200 persons in the first year, 300 persons in the second year and an additional 350 persons in the third year receiving the MHFA training certification. In addition to expanding existing services and programs, STEPS, is designed to offer training specific to underserved groups, namely the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) community and veterans and military families. Additionally, STEPS will better inform faculty and staff of services to which they may refer students. The Kognito At-Risk website training, a new program, will be implemented to ensure campus-wide involvement for all students, faculty and staff. The Kognito At-Risk training will be set up in such a way that it will address the population at large in the first year, followed by addressing specific needs of the LGBTQ community in the second year, and the veterans/military families in the third year. Tapping on the collaboration of the several departments on the campus of TSU (University Counseling Center, Department of the Health Sciences, Department of Psychology and the Department of Social Work) along with partnerships with other entities including but not limited to: Student Health Center, Housing, Veterans Affairs, Judicial Affairs, Mental Health Mental Retardation Agency, National Alliance of Mental Illness, Neuropsychiatric Hospital of Houston, National Suicide Prevention Hotline), campus wide seminars, workshops and webinars addressing suicide prevention, mental health issues and substance abuse will be addressed. Informational materials will be made available for all students and family members/caregivers of students. Pre and post surveys will be utilized throughout the programming to measure efficacy and proficiency. The program will be evaluated utilizing the expertise of a program evaluator.