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Wayne State University receives $300K grant for suicide prevention initiative

June 20, 2017


Wayne State University receives $300K grant for suicide prevention initiative
As part of the initiative, a full-time suicide prevention coordinator will be hired and nearly 4,000 people across the university will participate in the three-year project.

Wayne State University has been awarded a three-year, Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant worth $305,354.

The grant will be used for WSU’s Suicide Prevention Initiative that seeks to develop an infrastructure of education, training and dissemination of suicide prevention information to faculty, staff, students and their families. Wayne State’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), College of Nursing, Campus Health Center and School of Social Work collaborated on the grant proposal.

As part of the initiative, a full-time suicide prevention coordinator will be hired and nearly 4,000 people across the university will participate in the three-year project. Other key roles will include staff and faculty from Wayne State’s Department of Psychology, Dean of Students Office and the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement.

“WSU plans to create an environment in which mental health issues are not stigmatized, seeking help is encouraged and seen as a strength, and members of the campus community step in to prevent harm to each other,” said Jeffrey Kuentzel, Ph.D., director of CAPS. “This will be accomplished through the development of collaborative networks, innovative marketing campaigns, evidence-based gatekeeper training programs and culturally appropriate educational programs.”

With the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority, Wayne State is pitching in a combined $328,890 that will be added to the grant for a total of $634,244. The initial grant comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Although all members of the campus will be included, this project will work to provide specific programs and outreach to more vulnerable students, including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer (LGBTQ); military veterans; and those living in campus residence halls. Particular attention will be paid to those who are often marginalized, such as minority students or students with mental health disabilities.

“We’re targeting all different levels of the university to have people get more comfortable with the topic and to reduce stigma,” Kuentzel said. “For the next three years, we will be able to do a better job of preventing student suicide and provide evidence-based programming to help faculty, staff and students in leadership positions better identify students who are suicidal and guide them to get professional assistance.”

Free, confidential support is available 24/7 through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or through the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

The award number for this U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant is 1H79SM080101-01.