Promoting a Caring Community - St. Cloud State University
Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255

This website was developed [in part] under a grant number SM60479 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies, and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS.

Information for Parents and Families

Fostering a community of care, promoting compassion, and preventing suicide.

SCSU has been awarded a 3 year $300,000 federal grant through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to fund campus suicide prevention efforts.

  • PACC enacts the prevention efforts of the grant, and believes:
  • Suicide prevention is everyone’s concern
  • SCSU is committed to the safety and growth of the whole student

Goals of the grant:

  • Prevent suicide through the creation of a caring community
  • Increase help-seeking behavior
  • Reduce the stigma about mental health concerns
  • Provide tools to instill compassionate responsiveness to students across our University
  • Create a community that is healthier and stronger for all

Some example grant efforts:

  • Trainings to Students, Faculty, and Staff
    • Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR)
    • Kognito At-Risk for Students
  • Promoting Help-Seeking and Stigma Reduction
    • Interactive Screening Program (ISP)
    • Active Minds Peer Group
    • Promotion of National & Local Hotlines
    • PACC Pledge
  • Educational Seminars and Informational Materials
    • Increase Mental Health Awareness
    • Suicide Warning Signs and Risk Factors
    • General and High-Risk Subgroups

St. Cloud State University is dedicated to providing not only a great education, but a safe space to grow personally and socially. There are numerous resources on campus that work with students to maximize their potential and their experience with us. We recognize that students may have issues they have dealt with prior to coming to college that need ongoing management, or there may be things that happen while they are here which require additional support.

What Parents and Families can do to help students transition to college

As a parent and/or family member, you are an important part of your student’s support network. It is not unusual for parents and/or family members to wonder what role they can play in supporting their student’s mental health. Although your student will be developing autonomy, they will rely on their available support networks to help maintain good mental health.  Because of this, we want to share some tips for helping your student prepare for a healthy transition to college and some ways you can help them maintain good mental health.

 Prior to starting college:

  • Be honest on medical history forms about your student’s current or past emotional issues
  • Transfer your student’s care and records to the campus counseling
  • center or a local community provider
  • Find out what mental health services are covered when making decisions about your student’s health insurance
  • Learn about available support services and structures for students
  • Be familiar with the resources for parents and families
  • Read the student handbook at

When in college:

  • Keep the lines of communication open
  • Know the signs and symptoms of emotional disorders as well as the warning signs for suicide
  • Encourage your student to go to the counseling center
  • Find out whom to call at the college if you’re concerned about your student’s emotional well-being
  • Understand the circumstances under which the college will notify you

Transitioning to college can be a stressful time for both students and parents/families. If your student has a history with a mental health disorder, you may be particularly anxious about how this transition will go and what you can do to support your student. We encourage you to start talking with your student prior to arriving at college and preparing for managing mental health conditions.

For students with mental health conditions, you may additionally want to:

  • Work to ensure ongoing care, address medication and insurance issues
  • Encourage your student to make a plan for mental health and wellness such as recognizing symptoms early, creating strategies for managing stress, and planning for treatment and support
  • Talk to your student about staying healthy, such as how to handle stress and make good decisions about alcohol or drug use
    • This is especially important if your student is taking psychiatric medication, as alcohol and other drugs may present dangerous interactions
  • Create an emergency contact plan in case there is a time when you are unable to reach your student

We encourage you to make these conversations an ongoing part of your communication with your student.


What to do if you are concerned that your student may be thinking about suicide:
Remember that asking someone about suicide does not put the idea into their head.

  • Be direct and talk openly;
  • Be willing to listen and accept the expression of feelings
  • Be non-judgmental and don’t lecture
  • Get involved and show interest and support
  • Don’t dare them to do it, act shocked, or be sworn to secrecy
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available
  • Take action and remove means
  • Get help from individuals or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention

If you witness your student exhibiting one or more of the following, GET HELP IMMEDIATELY:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill themself, or talking about wanting to hurt or kill themself
  • Looking for ways to kill themself by seeking access to means such as weapons or pills
  • Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when this is out of the ordinary for the person

If you witness your student exhibiting one or more of the following, get help as soon as possible:

  • Hopelessness
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, revenge seeking
  • Acting reckless, engaging in risky activities
  • Feeling trapped
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, society
  • Anxiety, agitation
  • Inability to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • Expressing no reason for living, no sense of purpose in life

Individuals who are thinking about suicide often give some warning of their intentions to a friend or family member. All suicide threats, gestures, and attempts must be taken seriously.


Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
Stewart Hall 103
Free and confidential personal counseling, crisis intervention, and consultation

Student Health Services (SHS)
Hill Hall
Staffed by licensed medical providers; on-campus medical center and pharmacy

Case Management Program
Stewart Hall 103
Provides advocacy and consultation regarding both on- and off-campus needs


National Suicide Prevention Hotline

Four County Crisis Response Team

Central Minnesota Mental Health Center


Additional supportive staff are available in a variety of other offices on campus. If a student is reluctant to connect with the resources listed above, ask them if there is a place on campus where they are connected or would be more comfortable going.

Adapted from the JED Foundation’s “Protecting Your Child's Mental Health:  What Can Parents Do?” and the University of Michigan’s “Campus Mind Works.”

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