University of the South

Sewanee Flourish
Garrett Lee Smith Campus

The purpose of this project is to develop a sustainable campus infrastructure at The University of the South, rooted in the two continua model of mental health and illness (Keyes, 2007), designed to promote suicide prevention and enhance student mental health and flourishing. While flourishing is most commonly associated with individual health, a public health approach based on this model will seek to enhance not just individual flourishing, but collective flourishing by involving the community as a whole in the work of suicide prevention. Sense of belonging and social connection are important predictors of both well-being and flourishing (Keyes, 2007) and decrease risk for suicide and mental illness (Keyes et al., 2012). Sewanee Flourish seeks to improve student mental health and cultivate student flourishing by accomplishing the goals outlined below, and plans to pay special attention to at-risk student groups (LGBTQIA students, students from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, students with disabilities, and male-identified students).

The goals of Sewanee Flourish are:

(1) to conduct a qualitative needs assessment of at-risk students,
(2) to develop a Wellness Task Force to activate the campus community in the work of suicide prevention,
(3) to increase the number of faculty, staff, and students trained as gatekeepers,
(4) to develop educational workshops and interventions to enhance student flourishing and resilience,
(5) to develop a social marketing campaign to increase awareness of crisis resources, and
(6) to develop accessible resources for families to promote mental health and flourishing and to increase awareness about the development of mental illness and suicide risk during college.

The anticipated overarching outcomes of Sewanee Flourish are the development of a sustainable campus infrastructure designed to identify and respond to students in distress, to reduce barriers to help-seeking among students, and to promote and improve student mental health and flourishing. All project goals will be systematically assessed to evaluate the impact of Sewanee Flourish on suicide prevention.