University of North Texas
College and university campuses are critical for developing young people in today’s society. Students coming to college at this time bring greater levels of emotional problems than five years ago and their emotional problems have grown more severe. Students are experiencing increased pressure to achieve and often have additional burdens interpersonally and financially. Depression and anxiety among students is more apparent than in the past. Minority populations are not exempt. African American and Latino young people are also suffering with depression and anxiety and are considering suicide are at a greater rate than ever before. Students who do not have effective strategies for managing increasing pressures of life may decide suicide is their only option. Research shows these students often do not seek treatment. College and universityprofessionals have a responsibility to help college students identify and accesses resources to overcome what may appear to them-as insurmountable obstacles to moving effectively into adulthood. Identifying and assisting students who are depressed and considering suicide is key for colleges and universities. Developing individuals into effective contributing members of society with a wide variety of talents and ideas is the goal of suicide intervention. The QPR Gatekeeper approach works to develop students and staff by enhancing participants’ ability to be more effective and proactive with persons in crisis. Participants are able to identify key indicators of suicide intention and develop skills to help a person receive care they need in a crisis. Leaders will develop more in depth skills to lead others in learning the process. Staff and faculty who are prepared effectively for a crisis situation can guide a student to receive assistance in overcoming crisis. Students themselves can learn how to help a friend. Gatekeepertraining provides participants in a two hour format with warning signs and ways to assist a person who may be contemplating suicide. The ASIST Program for suicide intervention and prevention developed by LivingWorks, will add to the participants’ knowledge and skill by directly addressing attitudes held considering suicide. LivingWorks pioneered inclusion of an attitudes component for participants to evaluate their own beliefs and attitudes about suicide. The extended educational approach is targeted towards staff, faculty, students in counseling and psychology and students who may lead two hour workshops in the future. Campus wide programming in the area of suicide prevention and intervention is a key approach to increasing knowledge and skill. Preventing suicide is the goal. Learning how to identify someone who is considering suicide and listening to the person are skills that will be developed. Through a campus wide network a safety net for students in crisis, can be built. Colleges’ and universities’ attention to the mental health of students encourages successful matriculation for all students.