Many of the essential elements for developing and implementing effective campus mental health promotion and suicide prevention efforts are the processes by which one creates cultural change on a college or university campus. These processes—undertaking a strategic planning process informed by prevention science and creating partnerships to leverage lasting change—are essential to successful work in prevention and public health.
For suicide prevention efforts to show results, colleges must tailor their programs to meet the unique needs of their campuses. The Strategic Action Planning Process provides campus leaders with a series of steps to guide data-driven program planning, an essential element of a public health approach.
A comprehensive approach, involving multiple strategies operating at both the environmental and individual levels, has to be the responsibility of more than one person or department. A mental health task force can guide a strategic planning process and oversee ongoing program efforts.
Treatment alone will not solve the challenges most campuses face in addressing student mental health concerns, suicide attempts, and suicide. A combination of activities, policies, and interventions working together is more likely to produce results.