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University Health Services awarded grant to prevent suicide

September 12, 2012

University Health Services has been awarded a three-year Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant of $306,000 by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), UHS Executive Director Sarah Van Orman announced today.

The grant provides $102,000 in funding each year for three years and will be used to initiate comprehensive education and outreach activities aimed at identifying students at risk of suicidal behavior and encouraging them to seek the help and assistance that is available to them.

“Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students and the number one contributor to suicide is untreated depression,” says Danielle Oakley, director of UHS Counseling and Consultation Services. “With this grant, we hope to address the root of this issue by providing prevention and awareness-based programming for faculty, staff, students, parents and community partners.”

Funding provided by the grant will provide resources for UHS to convene a Suicide Prevention Council comprised of campus and community partners to increase mental health awareness, and identify and implement evidence-based programs to prevent suicide among UW–Madison students. A major goal of the grant will be education and training for members of the campus community in how to help someone in need.

The prevention activities will also have a special focus on those student groups who have been shown to be at increased risk of suicide, including military veterans; American Indians/Alaska Natives; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students; and students who engage in high-risk drinking.

“This grant provides us with a better opportunity to expand our prevention efforts throughout the campus community, reach more students struggling with mental health issues, reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, and ultimately save lives,” Oakley says.

UHS received support for the competitive grant from numerous partner organizations on campus and in the campus community.

“I want thank each of the partners that provided support and assistance with our application,” says Van Orman. “We look forward to collaborating with our many campus and community organizations as we begin planning and implementation of our comprehensive suicide prevention efforts.”