Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University
Garrett Lee Smith Campus

The escalation of mental health difficulties and the steady level of suicide completions among college students prompt the call for effective university-based prevention efforts. This comprehensive suicide prevention plan for Western Michigan University seeks to modify aspects of the Air Force Suicide Prevention Program (2001) to a non-military, academic environment.

The Air Force program reduced the incidence of completed suicides and attempts among Air Force Personnel and is considered “highly effective” according to SAMHSA. The elements adapted include; the utilization of a community-based approach, the use of community leaders to carry out and support the program, the dissemination of information regarding risk factors, symptoms, and referral sources for depression and suicide, and the promotion of help seeking behavior among students at risk. Proposed activities include the training of campus leaders, the use of culturally sensitive social marketing activities to promote community responsiveness to mental health problems and promote help seeking, and the use of the web-based technology to educate the community. Special emphasis will be placed upon reaching underrepresented students through the use of their social connections and student groups.