University of Arizona

Project Lifeline
Garrett Lee Smith Campus

The University of Arizona (UA) Campus Health Service (CHS) and the Southwest institute for Research on Women (SIROW), propose Project Lifeline, a comprehensive suicide prevention strategy to reduce the incidence of suicide, suicide attempts, and their related risk factors such as alcohol and other drug (AOD) misuse/abuse among students at the UA with a special emphasis on high-risk student populations, such as LGBTQ students and veterans. Located in Tucson, UA is a large public institution (over 43,000 students) with over 45% of its student population from an ethnic/racial minority and 52% female. Approximately 5-6% of the population identifies as LGBQ and over 1,000 students are veterans receiving GI Bill benefits. On a 2017 survey 63% of UA students reported having consumed alcohol, 28% reported having used marijuana, 2% reported having used pain pills, and 6% reported having used sedatives not prescribed to them in the past 30 days. Seventeen percent had been diagnosed with depression and 19% with anxiety. Forty five percent had felt hopeless, 81% had felt overwhelmed, 30% felt so depressed it was difficult to function at least once during the past year. Seventeen percent reported at least mild suicidality, 1.4 reported attempting suicide, and 3 committed suicide in the past school year. These risk factors indicate the strong need for comprehensive suicide prevention on campus.

In collaboration with a wide variety of campus and community partners, CHS and SIROW’s Project Lifeline will address the following objectives:

  1. Increase collaboration among campus departments and the Tucson community to address student mental and behavioral health needs;
  2. Increase knowledge and willingness of students and campus personnel (gatekeepers) to respond effectively to students with mental health (MH) and behavioral health (BH) problems that can lead to school failure, such as depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts and attempts;
  3. Increase students who are screened and assessed for MH and substance use disorders;
  4. Increase awareness of campus and community resources that can identify, assess, and treat MH and MH problems;
  5. Increase help seeking for MH and BH problems;
  6. Decrease suicide attempts and related risk factors;
  7. Institutionalize effective program components and disseminate information at local, state, and national levels.

To address these project objectives, the project team will utilize gatekeeper training to 400 individuals/year, educational presentations and curriculum infusion to a minimum of 400 individuals/year and campus-wide efforts such as student driven activities and media (videos, posters, pamphlets, articles) with the potential to be seen by most students (43,000), as well as local, state and national dissemination (presentations, technical assistance and publications).