Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville

Program Name:  iCARE: Initiative to Create Awareness, Recognition, and Education
Grant Type:  Campus
Grant Status:  Active
Year Awarded:  2015
State:  Illinois

The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) Initiative to Create Awareness, Recognition, and Education (iCARE) on suicide prevention project aims to significantly impact student, faculty, and staff recognition of risks for and behaviors of a student contemplating suicide. This will be accomplished by a) direct involvement of student organizations and leadership in developing outreach strategies, b) identification and deployment of best available training and assessment methods, c) collaboration with community partners on programming decisions, policies, and management plans, and d) outcomes assessment to guide future resources and focus.

The SIUE iCARE suicide prevention project considers all students, faculty, staff, and student families as crucial partners in the identification of students at risk for suicide. As such, the iCARE training strategy will extend beyond the typical “mental health gatekeeper” target audience. We aim to generate interest and ownership among identified student leaders and organizations with the goal of these student advisors encouraging completion of training materials among their respective constituencies. These student leaders will be invited to serve in an advisory capacity for the iCARE project thus strengthening their accountability in deploying the message and training on suicide prevention.

Unfortunately, capturing the attention and interest of university students is difficult at best. We propose an aggressive campaign, partnering with campus marketing and communications, internal student organizations and stakeholders, and strategic external partners to achieve significant brand recognition, outreach, and willingness to complete the iCARE training program and assessment. Our outreach efforts will include micro-videos, social media blitz, smart phone / tablet application development, and campus signage. A strong representation of internal and external stakeholders will be assembled to serve on the iCARE Executive Council. These stakeholders, including campus mental health services, administration, police, faculty with mental health expertise, and external organizational leadership, will help guide the student advisory panel in selection or development of training materials, outreach messaging, and the development of currently lacking standardized data capture and risk management plans. This leadership council for the project will be transitioned to a standing university committee under the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs following completion of the project.

While our primary outcome is certainly to prevent deaths by suicide, secondary outcomes include increased help seeking by students as evidenced by SIUE Counseling Services intake completion and appointments, web-traffic at SIUE informational pages, increased completion of student of concern confidential submissions, development of sound policies and procedures for assisting students at risk, and ultimately, percent of student body trained in suicide prevention.