University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire

Hope Inspires
Garrett Lee Smith Campus

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has adopted the goal of zero suicides. This goal will be accomplished through the creation of Hope Inspires, a multidisciplinary, integrative campus program aiming to prevent suicide by (1) building capacity to identify students at risk through training and education, (2) increasing the number of students who are willing to seek help by reducing stigma, and (3) developing a universal set of procedures to ensure consistent responding to students in crisis; all guided by the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. Our program will be delivered to the 10,900 enrolled students, targeting high-risk groups such as our LGTBQ (16%), Veteran (3%), racial/ethnic minority (8%), and first generation (41%) students, as well as faculty/staff, parents, and community members.

The UWEC Hope Inspires program has four primary objectives driving our activities:

  1. Increase the amount of training provided on suicide prevention to all members of our campus, enhancing our capacity to identify and respond to students at risk.
  2. Increase collaboration among key campus and community entities dedicated to mental health promotion, recovery, and suicide prevention to deliver a consistent message that suicide prevention is everyone’s responsibility.
  3. Increase the number of educational events and informational materials promoting mental health and suicide prevention, including risk factors like depression and substance abuse, and the national suicide prevention lifeline.
  4. Reduce stigma and negative attitudes towards mental health/substance use disorders and under-represented groups (e.g., LGBTQ, Race/Ethnic Minority, Veteran/military) so that students increase their willingness to seek help.

With this funding, we aim to have all student leaders, 20% of students, and at least one member in each campus department/ organization gatekeeper trained and complete a stigma reduction program. We aim to train over 15 gatekeeper trainers, 4 individuals across campus trained as suicide prevention specialists, and have all direct service providers trained in evidence-based suicide assessment and intervention. We will provide information about mental health promotion and suicide prevention resources to our students and their parents via a multi-media/ advertising campaign, peer education/ outreach activities, a suicide prevention class, and suicide prevention speakers. This project utilizes numerous evidence-based programs, continuous program assessment to evaluate progress and processes ensuring excellent use of resources and impact, and was designed with long-term sustainability in mind to ensure that UWEC does not lose anyone to suicide.