Santa Monica College

Program Name:  Suicide Prevention Initiative
Grant Type:  Campus
Grant Status:  Active
Year Awarded:  2015
State:  California

Santa Monica College's (SMC) Suicide Prevention Initiative will strengthen institutional capacity to deliver suicide prevention activities campus wide, while raising awareness of mental health issues among students, faculty, and staff. Through the development of a comprehensive suicide prevention plan that includes gatekeeper training, peer education and support, and a postvention plan, SMC will reduce risk factors associated with suicide and promote positive mental health.

This initiative will engage the entire college community, but will provide specific services for student groups most at-risk of suicide, including student veterans, students who identify as a sexual minority, and students who are, or once were, in foster care, while raising awareness of mental health issues among students, faculty, and staff. Building upon existing resources and relationships with programs both on and off campus, SMC will:

  1. Improve program coordination to develop and implement suicide prevention strategies, support student mental health and employ postvention services;
  2. Increase capacity of gatekeeper staff to recognize risk factors associated with suicidal ideation and provide appropriate intervention and referral services;
  3. Reduce the stigma attached to mental illness and increase the likelihood that struggling students will access supportive services; and
  4. Increase awareness of the needs and concerns of LGBTQ students and expand resources to support these students.

These objectives will be accomplished through 1) the development of a Suicide Prevention Plan that includes a postvention plan; 2) suicide prevention training for all gatekeeper personnel, as well as other faculty and students, using nationally recognized curricula; 3) development of a Peer Educators group that will implement mental health awareness activities for students, faculty, and staff, including a Mental Health Awareness Week; and 4) a campus-wide media campaign that will raise awareness of suicide warning signs, risk and protective factors, campus resources, and activities that promote mental health.

This grant will be administered by SMC's Office of Psychological Services, which works closely with many groups, both on and off campus to address the mental health needs of SMC students. Primary partners will include SMC's Crisis Prevention Team, the SMC Police Department, and SMC's Veterans Resource Center. Off campus partners will include Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, US Vets, and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.