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College and university suicide prevention

Today, institutions can play a huge role in college and university suicide prevention by establishing a strong safety net for the mental health of students. Doing so should be a priority of every college and university.

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center says that colleges and universities should develop a comprehensive approach to decrease suicide risk on campus.

How to develop a comprehensive college and university suicide prevention plan

  • Promote social networks and connectedness
  • Improve access to mental health services on and off campus
  • Identify and assist students who may be at risk for suicide
  • Be prepared to respond when a suicide death occurs

Promoting connectedness and raising awareness means making sure students are aware of the issue and the resources available to them. It also means that they are aware that they don’t have to worry about the stigma that often comes with reaching out for mental health help. Even when students know where to go for help, some remain hesitant to reach out. Staff and faculty should be aware of this and do everything they can do mitigate these fears.

Students, faculty and staff should be reminded of what resources are available and how to access them on a regular basis. In addition, school faculty and staff can embrace protective factors to reduce suicide risk such as promote extracurricular activities, restrict access to firearms and other means that could be used to carry out a suicide attempt, and reminding students to be aware of their alcohol use.

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