Campus Professional Toolkit

Targeting Groups

African American Students

African American youth suicide rates were low until the beginning of the 1980’s when rates started to increase dramatically. From 1981-1984, the suicide rate increased 83% for 15-24 year old African American males and 10% for African American females. Since then, the rates have steadily decreased. Firearms were the predominant method of suicide among African Americans regardless of age or gender.

Suicide Prevention Strategies

  1. Increase awareness in cultural differences in the expression of suicidal behavior
    1. African Americans are less likely to use drugs during a suicide crisis
    2. Behavioral component of depression is more pronounced
    3. Some African Americans express little suicide intent or depressive symptoms during suicidal crises
  2. Help remove the stigma and myths that suicide contradicts gender and cultural role expectations
    1. Religious stigma of suicide as the “unforgivable sin”
    2. African American men are macho and don’t take their own lives
    3. African American women are always strong and resilient and never crack under pressure
  3. Fight the stigma association with seeking mental health treatment
  4. Improve access to mental health treatment
  5. Develop liaisons with the faith community

Resources

  • African American Suicide Fact Sheet
    Additional data on suicide among the African American population and suicide prevention strategies

  • Suicide Prevention for African-American College Students
    A brochure developed by Pace University featuring information on risk factors for suicide among African American college students and common concerns among African American students who experience depression.

  • African American Suicide Prevention Fact Sheet
    A handout on suicide prevention practices among African American college students including rates of suicidal ideation and death, warning signs, risk and protective factors, effective treatments, and psychological consequences of hate crimes, discrimination and prejudice.

Hispanic Students

Although rates of completed suicide among Hispanic youth are lower than those for Non-Hispanics, school-aged Hispanic youth self-report higher rates of feeling sad or hopeless (36%), of thinking about suicide (18%), and of attempting suicide (14% of high school females). The use of firearms and suffocation were the two most common methods for all ages.

Suicide Prevention Strategies

  1. It is very important to involve the family in treatment because the Hispanic culture greatly values the well-being of the family
    1. It is essential to eliminate language barriers and have trained interpreters available for the families who need them
  2. Increase awareness in cultural differences in the expression of suicidal behavior
    1. Hispanic families may avoid seeking mental health help because they feel that suicide should be dealt with by the family or faith community first
  3. Immigration, acculturation, collectivism and interdependence should be considered in treatment
  4. Cultural differences between different Hispanic groups should be considered, and future research in this area is needed

Resources

  • Hispanic Suicide Fact Sheet
    Additional data on suicide among the Hispanic population and suicide prevention strategies

  • Suicide Prevention for Latino College Students
    A brochure developed by Pace University featuring information on risk factors for suicide among Latino college students and common concerns among Latino students who experience depression.

  • Latin American College Student Suicide Fact Sheet
    A handout on suicide prevention practices among Latin American college students including rates of suicidal ideation and death, warning signs, risk and protective factors, effective treatments, and psychological consequences of hate crimes, discrimination and prejudice.

LGBT Students

According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, LGBT youth are 7 times more likely that heterosexual youth to report a previous suicide attempt. LGBT youth generally have fewer protective factors, more risk factors, and more severe risk factors including an increased risk for depression and anxiety, alcohol and drug use and dependency, and social exclusion. According to the 2007 GLSEN National School Climate Survey, 86.2% of LGBT students experienced harassment at school.

Suicide Prevention Strategies

  1. Utilize educational campaigns that target LGBT students
    1. Visit The Trevor Project’s website to download ads for the ‘I’m Glad I Failed’ campaign. The ads feature four young people with stories about how intolerance and harassment led them to attempt suicide, and how glad they are that those attempts failed because their lives have changed for the better. http://www.thetrevorproject.org
  2. Seek out and implement training opportunities to increase mental health professionals’ awareness and knowledge of the specific issues faced by LGBT studentsßß

Resources

Veteran Students

There is a need to better understand and respond to the unique challenges faced by returning veterans on campus. Issues faced include difficulties connecting with less mature peers, finances, and health issues, including disabilities and mental health issues such as PTSD (DiRamio, Ackerman & Mitchell, 2008). Partners in Prevention recognizes that returning veterans may be at greater risk for post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol and drug abuse and dependency, suicidal thoughts and behavior, and other addictions.



Campus Support Strategies

  1. This NASPA journal article features a number of strategies to support veterans on campus
    1. Identify each student-veteran to better coordinate services among campus professionals (self-identification should be voluntary but encouraged)
    2. Provide a mentor of ‘transition coach’
    3. Provide training for academic advisors and professional development opportunities for faculty and staff to better understand the needs of student-veterans
    4. Create a visible campus-based student organization for veterans

Veteran Friendly Toolkit

Created by the American Council on Education (ACE), this online resource is designed to help institutions of higher education build effective programs for veteran students and share information. It highlights a variety of best practices and includes video clips, profiles of student veterans programs across the U.S., and a searchable database of tools and resources.
  1. Click here for the "Veteran Friendly Toolkit"

Working with Student Veterans: Free Trainings

The Jed Foundation and the Bob Woodruff Foundation have partnered to create a training tool that helps campus health professionals best understand the student veteran perspective, engage with them on campus, and provide the resources and support they need to succeed.
  1. Click here for "Helping Our Student Veterans Succeed"
Trauma of war continues to appear thousands of miles from the battlefield. Service Members, their Families and friends often struggle to cope with long deployments, multiple deployments and painful reintroductions into everyday life. But you can help them truly come home again!
  1. Click here for "Rest of the Way Home"

Additional Resources

  1. Veteran-Friendly Campus Taskforce Report
  2. Student Veterans Organizations
  3. Supporting Student Veterans in Transition
  4. From Combat to Campus: Voices of Student-Veterans
  5. Supporting the Military Veteran Student
  6. From Soldier to Student II: Assessing Campus Programs for Veterans and Service Members
  7. Directory of Veterans Facilities in Missouri