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University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

University of Nebraska awarded prestigious $300,000 suicide prevention grant

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln will receive more than $300,000 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to build a robust suicide prevention program.

The three-year grant will help Nebraska’s Big Red Resilience and Well-being program develop a coordinated, systems-oriented strategy to address mental health concerns of students and provide consistent screening for mental health and suicide. In partnership, the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center will develop and implement a comprehensive evaluation plan for the program.

Nebraska is one of 19 schools nationally to receive the Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention grant. In memory of an Oregon student who took his own life in 2003, the grant supports college student suicide prevention. Key to prevention, Nebraska’s grant will support REACH© gatekeeper trainings for faculty, staff and students. 

“Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students,” said Laura Shell, program coordinator in Big Red Resilience and Well-being. “We have a shared campus responsibility and each individual can make a difference by learning the risk factors, identifying warning signs, and intervening. When we have an opportunity to educate, we are able to reduce stigma and encourage help-seeking behaviors.”

REACH trainings educate participants to:

·      Recognize warning signs

·      Engage with empathy

·      Ask directly about suicide

·      Communicate hope

·      Help suicidal individuals to access care and treatmentTrainings are available free of charge to university- and student-affiliated organizations, departments, colleges and programs.