University of Washington

Husky Help and Hope (HHH)
Garrett Lee Smith Campus

Forefront, innovations in suicide prevention — a new Center of Excellence in suicide prevention located at the UW proposes to partner with key campus stakeholders to: (1) build capacity to identify, refer and treat at-risk (distressed) undergraduate and graduate students; (2) review and revise campus policies and programs to address the identification of at-risk students, suicide attempts, and death by suicide in light of national best practices. On college campuses, national attention to suicides has been growing. The incidence of suicide among college students is 7.5/100,000. Approximately, 10% of college students report suicidal ideation and nearly 2% make a suicide attempt. The setting for this proposal is the UW–a public university, the 13th largest in the US with nearly 40,000 students enrolled on its Seattle-based campus. The UW provides counseling to students who are struggling and has a track record of increasing the availability of mental health services when needed. While recognizing the importance of a broader public health approach to suicide using strategies and interventions that target broad audiences and specific high risk groups, the UW has heretofore not had that capacity. We propose Husky Help & Hope (HHH), whose program objectives over the 3 year grant period include: dissemination of suicide intervention gatekeeper training, both in-person and on-line, to approximately 2000 campus faculty and staff; on-campus professional development trainings for 300 professional students and mental health counselors in suicide assessment and treatment; workshops for 150 journalism students and local journalists on responsible reporting about suicide; engaging key campus stakeholders to do strategic planning based on outcomes and to review and revise campus policies and; a web-based resource that provides an anonymous depression screening tool, mental health and suicide prevention resources to students, parents, staff, and faculty, and information about available help including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; and partnership with student groups around mental health promotion. A multi-pronged evaluation of HHH is proposed that will inform the suicide prevention field. It includes pre-post analysis of: student mental health service utilization, perceived competence knowledge, skills, and satisfaction after gatekeeper and professional development trainings, the suicide prevention climate on campus, and the quality of news coverage about suicide on the UW campus and within the Seattle community. Forefront collaborators and campus stakeholders will interpret and publish the evaluation results in academic journals. Sustainability of HHH on the UW campus will be accomplished through the revision of institutional policies. Outcome data will inform the continuation of HHH programs on campus.