Southern Arkansas University

Grant Type:  Garrett Lee Smith Campus
Grant Status:  Active
Year Awarded:  2020
State:  Arkansas

The Southern Arkansas University (SAU) Suicide Prevention and Awareness Program will develop a more comprehensive suicide prevention and substance awareness program on the SAU campus. This plan will consist of a multifaceted approach to its Suicide Prevention and Awareness Program. It will encompass training for faculty, staff, and students; awareness and education activities; surveys and assessments; accreditation process for counseling professionals; establishment and dissemination of a suicide prevention plan for the campus; creation of a suicide support network, and reactivating the Crisis Response Team (CRT). Southern Arkansas University’s 2017 fall enrollment is more than 4,600 students, this includes approximately 900 graduate students. Nearly 2,000 students reside in campus housing. Students mainly come from within a 100 mile radius, and 70% originate from within the state. Forty-three percent of the student body comes from a family household earning less than $24,000 annually. Student population is comprised of 54% female and 46% male; 58% White, 23% African American, and less than 5% Hispanic, Asian and other ethnicities. Non U.S. Citizens represent 14% of the student body. The Suicide Prevention and Awareness Program has four main goals. Goal one is to develop infrastructure for support referrals to campus and community based services designed to prevent suicide while improving the efficiency by which follow up interventions are carried out. This goal will be accomplished by hiring a full time coordinator, developing and disseminating resources and creating a variety of specialized teams within the SAU system and local community. Goal two is to annually assess the campus needs concerning mental health, substance abuse, and suicide risk. This goal will be carried out by administering regular assessments, screenings and surveys on campus. Results will be utilized to assess campus needs and target education and awareness campaigns regarding those needs. Goal three is to improve the suicide prevention training practices among faculty, staff, students, and at risk populations on the SAU campus. Key students and personnel will receive specialized training in suicide prevention and substance abuse, approximately 510 people.* Goal four is to build a campus culture of consistent messaging around the issues of substance abuse prevention, mental health access and suicide prevention. Information will be distributed to over 4,000 students throughout the duration of the project to deliberately reduce stigmatization of behavioral health services and to provide information about available resources. Campus, local, regional, and national resources will be accessible in the Counseling Center, on the website and distributed to parents and students. On-campus activities will be planned in collaboration with student organizations, the Counseling Center, and the local community regarding suicide awareness, prevention and substance abuse education.