Albany State University

Program Name:  We Are One- Albany State University
Grant Type:  HBCU
Grant Status:  Active
Year Awarded:  2019
State:  Georgia

The “We Are One Albany State University (ASU)” project seeks to develop a multi-disciplinary team of students, faculty, staff, administrators and community partners to develop the infrastructure for suicide and substance use prevention and increase the system capacity to enhance and sustain effective prevention programs and services which support SAMSHA’s Strategic Initiative of increasing awareness and understanding mental and substance use disorders. ASU is a Historically Black Institution (HBCU) located in rural Southwest Georgia. In December 2016, the University System of Georgia granted approval for the creation of the new ASU from the consolidation of Albany State University an HBCU and Darton State College (DSC) an institution with an access mission, effective January, 2017. The Fall 2017 enrollment for ASU was 6615 of which 71.1% were females, 70% were African Americans, 2.4% were Hispanics, 22% were Caucasians, 0.9% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 1.4% were multiracial; 0.3% were American Indian/Alaska Native and 2.9% did not report their race/ethnicity. A majority of students are first-generation learners, 54% lived on campus and 97% received some form of financial aid. The average age for undergraduates is 23.8. (BOR, 2017). About 5% of the student population is active duty military personnel, veterans or families of veterans. The goals of the project are: (1) create comprehensive infrastructure and collaborative networking; (2) increase knowledge of prevention of suicides, mental and substance use disorders; (3) promote help-seeking behaviors and reduce stigma and negative public attitudes towards mental health; and (4) create a campus community “We Are One ASU,” where the ommunity is engaged in assuring that each student experiencing mental distress is identified, screened and referred. The project will serve participants by offering training, programs and activities related to mental and substance use disorders and offer information on campus and community mental health resources. The project will provide direct training for at least 500 students and 50 key stakeholders each year and provide other programs, activities and services to at least 1000 students and other stakeholders each year for a total of at least 4650 participants over the life of the grant. The project activities will include: (1) create a Suicide Prevention Coalition of ASU and community partners; (2) offer activities, trainings and programs to prevent substance abuse disorders; (3) offer culturally appropriate training program (Kognito and QPR) to reduce stigma associated with seeking care; (4) reevaluate the present crisis response plan to accommodate the needs of the new ASU; and (5) distribute culturally appropriate informational materials that address warning signs of suicide, describe risk and protective factors, and identify appropriate actions to take when a student is in distress. The project will ensure that the needs of students at high-risk including, but not limited to LGBT, military family members and veterans are met.