University of Texas Brownsville

University of Texas-Brownville
Hispanic Serving Institution

The UTB/TSC Campus Suicide Prevention Program (CSPP) seeks to raise awareness of suicide as a critical but preventable issue while offering compassion and support to affected individuals. Through innovative training and collaborative partnerships, the CSPP educates key individuals on suicide indicators, prevention strategies, and intervention measures, assuring that at-risk students are connected with appropriate resources and treatment.

The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (UTB/TSC) is located on the border between Texas and Mexico, in Cameron County, and serves a traditionally under-served student population, which is largely Hispanic in ethnicity (92.6% as of fall 2010). While Hispanics constitute a clear majority, UTB/TSC students are diversified among a broad range of special populations including veterans; athletes; students with disabilities; international students; and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, questioning and intersexed (GLBTQI) students. An overwhelming majority of students are also economically disadvantaged, relying on financial assistance and external employment to subsidize their college educations.

The CSPP addresses the numerous risk factors facing its target population through five goals which focus on implementing periodic training programs to educate relevant UTB/TSC faculty, staff, and students; on the identification and prevention of suicidal behaviors and appropriate intervention measures, outreach to students and their families, awareness campaigns that seek to de-stigmatize mental illness, and the development of collaborative partnerships with community-based mental health agencies.

Student Health Services (SHS) at UTB/TSC will be responsible for implementing the CSPP. The SHS clinic and administrative offices are centrally located on the main campus of UTB/TSC and are easily accessible to everyone, including students with disabilities. Through a contractual arrangement, SHS will provide specialized training, employing the QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer) Model, to over 200 faculty, staff, and student leaders annually. The QPR, a standardized program used in schools throughout the nation as well as at the Department of Veterans Affairs, delivers a broad assessment and intervention strategy for addressing issues of suicidality on college campuses. In order to assess the efficacy of the CSPP, evaluation activities will include collection and analysis of data sets from the process, performance, and outcomes of the Program as well as collection and analysis of the cross-site data required by SAMSHA. Ultimately, the CSPP will result in the establishment of a comprehensive plan designed to prevent suicidal behaviors among students and to facilitate the utilization of mental health services for those at risk.