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The Delta State University Counseling and Student Health Center has been selected to receive a federal grant to address suicide prevention among the nations’ college students. Delta State is one of forty universities and colleges nationwide that will participate in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant project for the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. The US Congress created the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act and the bill was signed by the President in October of 2004.
The Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Grant is scheduled for three years, totaling $263,286. Delta State services an impoverished region of the country with higher rates of suicide attempts than the national average. Lack of community resources, rural isolationism, and state budget cuts are all factors that have created barriers in addressing suicide prevention on campus. This grant will enable Delta State to provide funding to address the six goals listed below.
This funding will allow Delta State, through its counseling center, to:
1. Train faculty and students using Kognito’s At-Risk simulation training
2. Provide educational seminars on topics such as depression, suicide prevention and substance abuse
3. Promote the National Suicide Hotline
4. Provide information to parents
5. Develop and provide information materials that address warning signs
6. Strengthen its campus network and infrastructure to address the mental health needs of our students
Data from the university’s Healthy Campus Initiative survey (2010) demonstrated several findings that indicated an increased need to address stress, depression, and suicide among college students. On a positive side, the findings also indicated that students are quite interested in receiving information and assistance in these areas. Monday, 10 September, the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and the Office of the Surgeon General released the revised National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP). The Garrett Lee Smith grant will enable Delta State to be a contributing participant in this historic national strategy. Specific information about this strategy can be found at www.actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org/NSSP.