Tulane University

Tulane University Mental Health Initiative
Garrett Lee Smith Campus

The purpose of the Tulane University Mental Health Initiative is to achieve a comprehensive expansion of its existing programs regarding the awareness and prevention of suicide and attempted suicide, and to enhance referral services for at-risk students with mental, substance use, or behavioral disorders. Tulane has good points of entry for suicide prevention through student organizations, clubs, athletics, Greek organizations, and service-learning. With an award from the SAMHSA Campus Suicide Prevention Grant program, we will build a stronger infrastructure of protective factors to dissuade students from considering suicide. Specifically, the Tulane University Mental Health Initiative will significantly enhance resources on campus to reduce stigma related to mental illness, provide early intervention services to students in distress or at-risk of suicide or other mental health issues, and reduce the incidence of completed suicide and suicide attempts. While undergraduate students are the primary focus population for this project, graduate, medical, and professional school students will also be included – more than 13,000 students annually. In addition, the project will pay particular attention to the special needs of our LGBT, disabled, and veteran students. The development of this grant was guided by the Jed Foundation Suicide Prevention Model, and the project will be driven by the National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services Standards in Health and Health Care and the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. Student input was garnered through focus groups, individual meetings and review.The project goals will be accomplished through increased gatekeeper training for members of the university community, a social marketing campaign, the implementation of a task force to coordinate mental health programming, and the development of educational programs for students, faculty, staff, families, and friends. The achievement of these goals will lead to an improved and more efficient delivery system for mental health resources and information. By increasing the overall awareness related to our campus mental health care and realigning all the various programs and services, Tulane University anticipates an outcome of increased early intervention for students at risk. Under the direction of a new Senior Health Educator position, the Tulane University Mental Health Initiative will partner with the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center, the state-funded office of the Louisiana Partnership for Youth Suicide Prevention. In addition, the project’s internal partners begin with the Board of Administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund and the Office of the President, and include offices within the Division of Student Affairs, as well as additional university entities, among them the Department of Athletics.The ultimate goal of Tulane’s Mental Health Initiative is the elimination of suicide and suicide attempts on the university campus.