Vanderbilt University’s Mental Health Awareness and Prevention of Suicide (MAPS) Project proposes to improve identification of and response to suicidality and its antecedents within the Vanderbilt student population. The major goals of MAPS have been to refine the current on-campus network of student services and to develop educational materials and programs for students, their families and campus personnel. By uniting and marshaling the existing expertise and know-how on campus, the project has developed a “Gatekeeper” training program for students and campus personnel that will allow for a more effective response to students with mental or behavioral health problems. The MAPS program will enhance the university community’s knowledge on such issues as identifying risk factors for suicide, decreasing high-risk activities, promoting help seeking behaviors and providing easy access to such services. Additionally, MAPS provides web resources and linkage to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline as part of the crisis response plan on campus. Community resources in the greater Nashville area that address suicide and mental health directly, the Jason Foundation, Tennessee Voices for Children (TVC) and the Tennessee Network for Suicide Prevention (TNSP), are assisting with the development of trainings and the implementation of MAPS at large.
The evaluation employs an open systems evaluation design (Cohen & Kibel, 1993), which facilitates “understanding the environment in which programs are implemented and tracking progress toward the achievement of specific program outcomes” (Julian, Jones & Deyo, 1995,p.334).