University of Alaska, Anchorage

University of Alaska Anchorage
Garrett Lee Smith Campus

The University of Alaska Anchorage Integrated Suicide Prevention Initiative aims to implement a comprehensive, coordinated, and sustainable approach to suicide prevention across the University of Alaska Anchorage campus community. The UAA ISPI will augment and coordinate existing suicide prevention efforts to reach faculty, staff, and students across campus.

Drawing upon years of strategic planning guided by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center Strategic Planning Process, UAA ISPI, led by the UAA Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services, will bring together relevant campus units to accomplish five primary goals:

  1. increase training opportunities related to suicide prevention and mental health promotion on the UAA campus for staff, students, and faculty;
  2. increase collaboration among logical campus partners for purposes of delivering suicide prevention messages;
  3. increase the availability and use of relevant educational materials to improve suicide risk reduction;
  4.  increase help-seeking among students in a non-stigmatizing environment; and
  5.  increase promotion of the Alaska Careline, part of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline network.

UAA ISPI’s three primary strategies to accomplish these goals are: 1) the development of an Advisory Council to guide a comprehensive and coordinated suicide prevention and mental health promotion effort on campus; 2) implementation of targeted faculty, staff, and student gatekeeper trainings that lead to a better understanding of suicide risk factors, greater identification of students at risk, improved student referral for mental health and suicide intervention, and availability of peer-supports; and 3) development and implementation of a campus campaign to promote help-seeking behaviors and reduce stigma. All campus members, including over 16,000 students and 2,700 staff and faculty employees, will be targeted with gatekeeper training and campus campaign efforts. Assessment measures will include, but are not limited to, number of individuals trained, satisfaction and knowledge among trained individuals, breadth of impact of campus campaign materials, and changes in campus climate with regard to student help-seeking and stigma surrounding mental health. The initiative’s activities and evaluation efforts will be respectful of and designed to be appropriate for the diversity of the campus community, being sensitive to and appropriate for the gender, age, sexual orientation, and ethnicity of each target group. As the initiative will work directly with numerous campus partners and existing efforts, its programs, resources, and Advisory Council will have the sustainability necessary to continue beyond the SAMHSA-funded project period. UAA ISPI efforts will also be greatly enhanced and supported through its ability to work collaboratively with Garrett Lee Smith grantees across the state of Alaska.