The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded a $300,000, three-year grant to the University of San Diego to implement a comprehensive suicide prevention program. This grant in conjunction with the “Not on My Watch” initiative launched by the university’s Student Wellness area earlier this September, will allow the university to implement a comprehensive campaign to prevent suicide. The funding will enable USD to enhance and strengthen collaborations, trainings and other educational interventions, including increasing the awareness of mental health concerns, suicide risk and protective factors, enhance help-seeking behavior, and create environmental change on campus and beyond that promotes the overall health and wellness of the USD community.
Melissa Halter, PhD, director of the Center for Health and Wellness promotion and the principal investigator on this grant, indicated that, “the resources USD will receive will allow the institution to implement a comprehensive plan for suicide prevention and mental health stigma reduction. Bringing together a multidisciplinary team of USD professionals and partnering with community experts, USD will implement a plan to engage the whole university community in these efforts.”
The American College health Association, National Collegiate Health assessment indicates that in the Fall of 2012, 7 percent of college students nationwide reported serious suicidal ideation during the previous 12 months. Colleges and universities across the nation are continuously working on developing and implementing prevention efforts that instill hope and respond to the mental health needs of students.
Moisés Barón, PhD, assistant vice president for Student Wellness, co-author and senior consultant to the SAMHSA grant stated, “USD has rallied together to prevent suicide by becoming a community that is informed and empowered. We can make a difference by learning how to recognize the signs of suicide, how to have conversations about mental health and suicide concerns and by becoming aware of the resources available and seek help when needed. This grant will allow us an opportunity to provide students, faculty, staff and parents with the knowledge and resources to support one another, and especially those in need.”
To learn more about USD efforts, please visit www.sandiego.edu/notonmywatch for information, resources and ways to get involved with suicide awareness and prevention efforts at USD.
– Melissa Wagoner