The U.S. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration awarded TCU a $243,982 Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Campus Suicide Prevention Grant. The grant will support and extend the Counseling Center’s suicide prevention project, the TCU HOPE Initiative. The purpose of the HOPE Initiative is to establish a comprehensive, university-wide approach to preventing suicides and suicidal behavior on campus.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. The HOPE Initiative seeks to generate a campus climate of caring through trainings, collaborative networks, mental health screenings, outreach, integrated clinical care and social marketing.
“The grant will enhance the HOPE Initiative’s goals by providing funding and technical support for more programming and outreach to the University community,” said Linda Wolszon, the director of TCU’s Counseling, Testing and Mental Health Center. “We envision a campus where students are willing and know how to seek help for themselves and others and where everyone knows how to reach out to someone in distress.” The grant will fund a full-time outreach coordinator and a part-time graduate assistant to support suicide prevention programming.
In honor of National Depression Awareness Month in October, the HOPE Initiative will host free and confidential depression screenings in classrooms, academic departments and residential halls. The HOPE Initiative also launched a website as part of a social media campaign to raise awareness of suicide prevention.
The grant will help TCU HOPE Initiative reach its goal to have all members of TCU’s campus go through suicide awareness and prevention training. Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) is a training program designed to teach attendees how to identify a student in distress, how to ask if the student is thinking about suicide and where to go for help. Last year, TCU HOPE Initiative trained more than 700 individuals on campus to use QPR prevention training.
The TCU Council on Mental Health and Suicide is another suicide prevention initiative on TCU’s campus. TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr., commissioned the council in 2011 to bring broad-based and sustained attention to the mental health of students after TCU lost several student to suicide in a short period of time. Concerned about the health and well-being of students, Chancellor Boschini appointed the members of the council, which is composed of faculty, staff and students. The Council on Mental Health and Suicide is responsible for studying the campus environment to determine opportunities to reduce risks and increase support for TCU students facing mental health challenges. The Council will make recommendations for strategies to support student mental health and prevent student suicide.
For more information about the TCU HOPE Initiative, visit www.counseling.tcu.edu/hope_initiative.asp
To access the HOPE Initiative’s social media website, visit www.ruok.tcu.edu
For information about the TCU Counseling Center, visit www.counseling.tcu.edu