University of Massachusetts – Amherst

University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Garrett Lee Smith Campus

The University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst Suicide Prevention program serves a population of more than 25,000 including internal key constituents such as Residence Life, UMass Police, the Dean of Students Office, faculty members, athletic coaches, members of student support services including support services for students of color, and members of University Health Services. Other external key constituents include members of our community provider network, community first responders, staff at large residential off-campus complexes where many students live, and parents and significant others in the students� lives. Our program seeks to expand the number of key constituencies, on and off campus, trained as gatekeepers and educated about suicide prevention and environmental strategies to reduce stigma associated with help-seeking behavior for mental health issues. We aim to continue to offer the gatekeeper training developed by SU Counseling Center staff, as well as to develop a comprehensive, structured, well-rounded, culturally sensitive outreach program. The UMass Suicide Prevention program is committed to provide culturally sensitive material and information through trainings and other prevention efforts. Additionally, the development of additional methods of disseminating knowledge about suicide prevention through online training, educational seminars, culturally responsive materials, and environmental strategies will help maximize the student�s mental health in order to reduce self-destructive behaviors and reduce risk for completed suicide. Efforts will also focus on institutionalizing suicide prevention across the campus. We will be working to enhance basic suicide prevention and intervention skills across campus and off-campus constituencies, promote early recognition and intervention, develop and implement standardized and culturally responsive intervention and referral protocols and educational materials, and engage in suicide prevention efforts that are institutionalized on campus and in the local community to support sustainability. We will also be making training materials/videos more accessible to individuals that may be unable or unlikely to attend on-campus trainings.Collaboration with other campus agencies and student-led organizations has been crucial to the success of already implemented programs. With the help of the New Student Orientation Group, we developed a workshop for all new students and their parents focusing on self-care, staying connected, and being active on campus. We partnered with a peer education group called Not Ready for Bedtime Players to perform a skit on raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of suicidal ideation and the risk factors for suicide. Finally, with the help of the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health, we developed a campus-wide event around National Survivors of Suicide Day, and we are planning a stress management event to take place during finals week.