Grant to help increase awareness of, reduce suicides
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
St. Cloud State University has been awarded a three-year $305,000 federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to help raise awareness of at-risk students and reduce suicides.
“The grant is to help us pursue a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention with a focus on groups that are potentially the most vulnerable,” said John Eggers, director of Counseling and Psychological Services at St. Cloud State. Veterans, students with disabilities, ethnic and racial minorities and LGBT students are among them.
Eggers said training for students, faculty and staff will include several activities aimed at giving participants better tools to identify students who are 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,” Eggers said.
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 provide resources for educating faculty and staff to become trainers, allowing for more widespread 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,” he said. “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.”