UT Martin awarded grant focused on suicide prevention
Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 6:00 pm
The Messenger 01.09.13
The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently announced the University of Tennessee at Martin is one of 40 institutions nationally to receive a Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant in the amount of $242,201 from 2012-15.
The grant will be used to finance UT Martin’s Project Safety-Networking Education and Training (Safety-NET), which is designed to help “create prevention-prepared communities where individuals, families, schools, workplaces and communities take action to prevent and reduce mental illness and substance abuse across the lifespan,” according to a SAMHSA initiative.
The project focuses on identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the current response mechanisms and resources for students at risk and seeks to bridge any identified gaps. This requires coordination among campus organizations, law enforcement, health-care providers and mental health-care providers to be successful.
Shannon Deal, director of Project Safety-NET and director of the UT Martin Student Health and Counseling Center, cites Martin’s rural area as a primary need for the program.
Project Safety-NET provides training to campus organizations and officials regarding available resources, as well as educates faculty, staff, students and others about how to detect warning signs and make mental health referrals for those at risk. The program also works to promote crisis hotlines.
Dr. Margaret Toston, vice chancellor for student affairs, said the external funds will be used “to increase suicide awareness and to equip the campus community with the necessary tools to help prevent suicide.”
There is a strong movement within the sponsored suicide prevention programs nationally to create multifaceted, collaborative relationships between college campuses and their surrounding communities. Dr. Joan West, director of research, grants and contracts at UT Martin, said, “Project Safety-NET is a prime example of how UT Martin will engage broad and diverse groups who represent relevant campus and community stakeholders to reduce the rate of suicide, suicide attempts and suicidal behaviors on campus.”
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college-aged students, according to the American College Health Association.
For more information, contact UT Martin Student Health and Counseling Ser-vices at (731) 881-7750.