University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh
In 2005, the UW Oshkosh Counseling Center received the Garrett Lee Smith grant from SAMHSA to develop a Comprehensive Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Program, which fundamentally transformed the University's approach to students experiencing mental and behavioral health problems which lead to depression, substance abuse, suicide attempts and academic failure. This collaborative effort focused on better meeting the needs of at risk populations and for whom the nature of this campus creates barriers to accessing care.
In the past three years, UW Oshkosh has witnessed an increase in binge drinking and hospitalizations for mental health issues and alcohol abuse. The thrust of the current grant is to provide UW Oshkosh with the opportunity to expand on the Comprehensive Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Program, to develop and implement the Center for Balance wellness program, to mobilize an Alcohol Task Force and to continue increasing the campus’ competency in working with distressed and marginalized students.
UW Oshkosh is at a critical point of beginning to internalize the mission of the grant into the university culture. There is still a need to develop a Clergy Network of local ministers and to increase collaboration with area hospitals to address continuity of care needs. These grant initiatives not only assist students to develop better coping skills, reduce substance abuse, and treat depression, but enhances student safety; and will make our students more academically successful and improve retention.