North Carolina Central University

Program Name:  Honest Conversations in Safe Spaces
Grant Type:  HBCU
Grant Status:  Active
Year Awarded:  2017
State:  North Carolina

The North Carolina Central University Honest Conversations in Safe Spaces Suicide Prevention Program will strengthen NCCU’s capacity and infrastructure to provide coordinated behavioral health programming that promotes mental health and suicide prevention. This comprehensive program will include campus/community collaborations, gate keeper training, and mental health promotion programming that targets those students considered at greater risk of suicide. Using a public health model, the project will bring together community and campus stakeholders as members of a Suicide Prevention Coordinating Committee which will be tasked with developing a comprehensive suicide prevention effort that includes the development of a suicide response protocol that campus mental health professionals and other administrators will follow when working with students with suicidal behavior and an organized tracking or monitoring system for those students. In addition, to reduce the risk of suicidal behavior, the proposed program will implement specific mental health promotion interventions and strategies to reduce risk factors associated with suicide, while also enhancing protective factors. While these strategies will be available to the entire NCCU student population of mostly African American students, a special focus will be placed on programming with targeted groups of students who are considered at high risk for suicide, including students who identify as LGBTQ, students with disabilities and veterans and military affiliated students. Goals for the program are described as follows:

• To assemble a network of collaborators, a Suicide Prevention Coordinating Committee, who will provide advice, collaboration and resources for the development and implementation of suicide prevention initiatives and a written protocol for responding to students in crisis.

• To produce and distribute to students, faculty, staff, written material and media messages related to mental health and suicide prevention.

• To develop and provide to NCCU’s gatekeepers training that increases the campus community’s awareness of risk and protective factors of suicide, promotes help seeking behavior, and reduces stigma related to mental health and substance abuse disorders.

• To develop and deliver culturally relevant programming which increases the awareness of mental health and substance abuse and reduces the stigma attached to mental health and mental health treatment with the general student population and with the targeted high risk groups. Specific interventions include focus groups with students from the targeted groups to achieve cultural competence of programs and materials, signature campus wide health promotion events, and on-line interactive training tools specifically designed for the targeted groups.