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Colleges and Universities

Casual StudentsThese web pages are designed specifically for college and university personnel. Our aim is to provide background information, research, resources, and practical examples to support campus suicide prevention and mental health promotion. We welcome your feedback. Send suggestions to

Even with access to low- or no-cost mental health treatment provided by most four-year residential colleges and universities and more community colleges strengthening linkages to community mental health services, many students who experience mental health problems or are suicidal are not receiving help. For example, counseling center directors report that the vast majority of students who die by suicide are not clients of the counseling center (Gallagher, 2006). In addition, only a small number of students who report being depressed are receiving treatment (American College Health Association, 2008; Eisenberg et al, 2007b).

Effective care for mental, alcohol, and other drug abuse disorders is a protective factor for suicidal behavior (Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 2011), and when young people are connected early to effective supports and treatments, most mental health problems can be successfully managed (Institute of Medicine, 1994). But while increasing access to and providing high-quality mental health treatment services are essential, neither is sufficient to address college student mental health issues and prevent suicide.

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center promotes a comprehensive, public health approach that goes beyond simply providing treatment services. This approach  expands efforts to prevent mental health problems from arising and promotes the mental health of all students. It relies on data about health problems, including their frequency and impact, to plan interventions. A key assumption in the public health approach is that a combination of activities, policies, and interventions working together, at the individual, interpersonal, and campus levels, is more likely to produce results.

Campus Data

Efforts to promote mental health and prevent suicide on campuses should start with a thorough understanding of current data regarding suicide, suicidal thoughts, and other mental health problems among college students.

Developing a Campus Program

Developing and implementing effective mental health promotion and suicide prevention efforts on a college or university campus requires a cultural shift. Strategic thinking, collaboration with key partners, and a comprehensive set of strategies are needed to create campus-wide change.

Resources and Research

Each section within the Campus Pages contains specific research and resources relevant to the specific page you are visiting. You can also browse a complete list of materials included in these pages.