University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida (UCF) Healthy Knights 2020 initiative proposes to promote a cohesive campus-wide environment supportive of the development and maintenance of a healthy body, mind , and spirit in order to decrease the occurrence mental health issues that lead to suicide. Currently the UCF campus has several options for students to receive health, mental health, and behavioral health services; however, following a pivotal on-campus suicide incident in 2013 the University recognized different areas of suicide prevention in need of improvement.
The purpose of the Healthy Knights 2020 program is to expand efforts to promote wellness and help-seeking of all students and provide specific outreach to vulnerable students such as veterans, the LGBTQ+ community, and those suffering from co-occurring disorders. The program promotes a comprehensive approach to assess the health status and needs of the campus community by expanding the current infrastructure and capacity to close the current gaps in care. The Healthy Knights 2020 Program will provide services to 500 unduplicated students per year, for a total of 1500 over the three-year award period. The program goals include: 1) developing a crisis response plan that encompasses not only the UCF campus community but the greater Orlando community which includes linkage to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; 2) increasing awareness of suicide risk factors such as depression and substance abuse, the warning signs, and prevention strategies and resources specifically for our high risk populations such a LGBTQ+, students with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health issues and student veterans through gatekeeper trainings; 3) providing information on suicide prevention, identification, and reduction of risk factors, such as depression and substance abuse, promoting help seeking, and reducing the negative attitudes towards seeking care for mental and substance use disorders; 4) creating brochures and PSAs specific to UCF and its community to help increase the awareness of suicide prevention; and 5) become a member of the Jed Foundations, The Campus Program. The objectives of Healthy Knights 2020 are to implement training and postvention procedures in the unfortunate event that a student completes a suicide; increase the number of gatekeeper trainers and accessibility to information online; strengthen peer education and various resiliency programs; increase awareness through various marketing strategies and improvement in addressing mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention programming.
The University of Central Florida (UCF) is the second largest institute of higher learning in the nation enrolling approximately 61,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students on eleven campuses in the Central Florida area. Although the projects put forth in this proposal will impact the entire campus community, a sub-population for this project will specifically focus on faculty and staff as they are often right on the front line of recognizing students in distress.