Grant to help prevent suicides

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

St. Cloud State University has been awarded a $305,000 federal grant to help raise awareness of at-risk students and reduce suicides.

The three-year grant is from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration, said John Eggers, director of Counseling and Psychological Services at St. Cloud State University.

“The grant is to help us pursue a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention with a focus on groups that are potentially the most vulnerable,” Eggers said, mentioning veterans, students with disabilities, ethnic and racial minorities and LGBT students to name a few.

“There will be several different activities that we will be participating in,” Eggers said as far as training students, faculty and staff to identify students at risk and helping them know how to talk to students and make referrals if needed.

“I like to describe it as increasing the University’s capacity to care about one another.”

Grant money will also be used toward marketing, messaging and reducing the stigma of depression, and mental health struggles, Eggers said.

The grant will allow the university to hire a coordinator, said Rob Reff, assistant dean of students for
Chemical Health and Outreach Programming.  Training materials will allow for the education of faculty and staff to become trainers themselves, thus allowing for a wider awareness.

There also will be a component that will allow for students to access materials online, Reff said.

“This grant will help us enhance our services to those who might be vulnerable to suicide including those with mental and behavioral health problems . We will focus on students struggling with high-risk substance use as well as those with depression and other mental health struggles which leave them at a higher risk for suicide.”

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