Miami receives suicide prevention grant
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 23:10
Miami University has received a three-year, $282,532 grant from the national Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to accomplish four goals concerning suicide awareness and prevention.
The main goal of the grant, titled the Garret Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant, is to provide the means for safekeeper training. In other words, to educate people about the warning signs of depression and how to reach out to someone who might need help, according to Mary Bausano, assistant dean of students on the Hamilton Campus.
The second goal of the grant is to provide resiliency training through helping students become less vulnerable, take care of their mental well being, and stress management. The remaining two goals are to develop a comprehensive crisis response center on all Miami campuses and to create a crisis website where students, faculty, and staff can find any necessary resources. This website would make the training accessible to more people including students, faculty, and staff, who wish to receive it.
“[Miami has] already started on the resiliency programs,” Bausano said, mentioning the Save Our Semester program happening this Friday.
Bausano also said the university plans to use online training, making the program easier to access for everyone, which is important considering suicide is an issue that affects all sorts of people.
“It has a lot of risk factors. No one is immune to it and it needs to be addressed at the college level,” Bausano said.
Miami University is one of 40 colleges receiving funding from the grant to strengthen its suicide prevention programming. Kip Alishio, psychology professor and director of the Student Counseling Service at Miami’s Oxford campus believes that the grant will allow Miami to extend its already present programs related to the issue.
“Three of us from the three campuses wrote a proposal for the grant a couple of years ago because we believe this is something that will help our students,” Alishio said.
The grant will provide training in recognizing and helping someone who might be in emotional distress and contemplating suicide. Ideally, the training will be accessible to as many people as possible and will communicate and connect with all Miami campuses, including Luxembourg, according to Alishio.
“[The grant] will allow us to purchase and implement an online training program, one for faculty and staff and another for students, so that everyone in the Miami community can receive online training in regards to help someone who may be feeling distressed,” Alishio said.
Senior Erin Helfrich, president of the Miami University chapter of To Write Love On Her Arms, said she believes that suicide is an issue that everyone should be aware of.
“It is important to know how much you can bear in helping someone and knowing when you need to get them more professional help,” Helfrich said.
Although suicide and suicide prevention are issues most college students don’t think about often, Helfrich hopes that the grant will help the campus and other students become more familiar with these limits and the necessary steps to offer help to those in need.