UTM receives suicide prevention grant
Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 11:01
The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently announced that UTM is one of 40 institutions nationally to receive a Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant in the amount of $242,201 from 2012-2015.
The grant will be used to finance UTM’s Project Safety-Networking Education and Training (safety-NET), which is designed to help “create prevention-prepared communities where individuals, families, schools, workplaces and communities take action to prevent and reduce mental illness and substance abuse across the lifespan,” according to a SAMHSA initiative.
The project focuses on identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the current response mechanisms and resources for students at risk and seeks to bridge any identified gaps. This requires coordination among campus organizations, law enforcement, health-care providers and mental health-care providers to be successful.
Shannon Deal, director of Project Safety-NET and director of the UTM Student Health and Counseling Center, cites Martin’s rural area as a primary need for the program.
“The funds from this grant will allow us to enhance our relationship with community mental health providers and facilities and bridge the gap between on-campus and community resources,” said Deal. “A collaborative relationship between the campus and the community is critical to ensuring our students have access to on- and off-campus resources before, during and after a mental health crisis.”
Project Safety-NET provides training to campus organizations and officials regarding available resources, as well as educates faculty, staff, students and others about how to detect warning signs and make mental health referrals for those at risk. The program also works to promote crisis hotlines for those in need.
Dr. Margaret Toston, vice chancellor for student affairs, said the external funds will be used “to increase suicide awareness and to equip the campus community with the necessary tools to help prevent suicide.”
There is a strong movement within the sponsored suicide prevention programs nationally to create multifaceted, collaborative relationships between college campuses and their surrounding communities. Dr. Joan West, director of research, grants and contracts at UTM, said, “Project Safety-NET is a prime example of how UTM will engage broad and diverse groups who represent relevant campus and community stakeholders to reduce the rate of suicide, suicide attempts and suicidal behaviors on campus.”
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college-aged students, according to the American College Health Association.
For more information on the grant, contact UTM Student Health and Counseling Services at 731-881-7750.