Des Moines Area Community College

Program Name:  DMACC Suicide Prevention Program
Grant Type:  Garrett Lee Smith Campus
Grant Status:  Alumni
Year Awarded:  2014
State:  Iowa

The DMACC Suicide Prevention Project is a new initiative to be launched by the counseling department at the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC). Working with partners both within the college and the community at large, the goal of this initiative is to build capacity and infrastructure in order to better meet the mental health needs of the more than 30,000 students the college serves each year.

The projects objectives are to a) develop a campus-wide Mental Health Advisory Group to guide activities; b) increase awareness and training for faculty, staff, and students; c) strengthen connections between counselors and faculty/staff; d) strengthen relationships between DMACC and outside stakeholders; and e) create a safe environment that promotes help-seeking behaviors. At the conclusion of the three-year project, DMACC will have developed an infrastructure across the college that will continue to support the mental health needs of students.

The essential elements for the success of this project are already in place. The Counseling office is a well-established part of the college. The staff and partners have expertise in suicide prevention, mental health, and working with at-risk groups. A rigorous evaluation design is an integral component of this project and will provide information about the projects efficacy, and will also contribute to our understanding of how to effectively approach overall mental health needs and suicide prevention at the college. The combination of expertise, commitment, and resources of the project staff ensures the development of a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention. The project aligns with the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, and supports its goals to provide an operating structure to catalyze planning, implementation, and accountability for updating and advancing the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.