Kansas State University

Program Name:  Kansas State University
Grant Type:  Garrett Lee Smith Campus
Grant Status:  Alumni
Year Awarded:  2006
State:  Kansas

UniversityLifeCafe.org is an innovative, interactive online program designed to engage college students in promoting mental wellness, particularly with regard to prevention of suicide, depression, and substance abuse, and encourage help-seeking behaviors so as to enhance positive experiences and success while in college. This online program complements a comprehensive campus-wide action plan including programming and training for students, faculty, and staff. UniversityLifeCafe.org goes beyond the typical, static, text-based web site of informational pages to engage college students at a deeper level with a complete online program of content and features that are relevant to their needs, interests, and comfort with using the Internet. The mental wellness approach to UniversityLifeCafe.org focuses more on how to be mentally healthy and less on the pathology of mental illness. This friendlier approach lays the groundwork for reducing the stigma of mental illness, and promoting help-seeking behaviors. The content of the program will be developed with a significant amount of student input through campus focus groups. Content will be delivered in a variety of formats, including text, audio, video, and podcasts. Where appropriate, students will be able to download content to their own computer for private use, for printing, or to download onto their MP3 players or iPods. Through the use of discussion boards, blogs, and the like, students will have the opportunity to connect with other students, discuss matters that are important to them, and otherwise learn that they are not alone in struggles they may experience while in college. The campus-wide programming and training efforts involve major student-oriented offices and organizations in reaching out to students and faculty/staff, while respecting the race, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation, and belief system of every member of our campus community. If UniversityLifeCafe.org is found to be useful for students at Kansas State University, it could certainly be made available to other students across the nation.