An alarming rise in suicide attempts over the past year prompted Professor of Social Work Willa J. Casstevens to create a suicide prevention proposal for NC State’s campus. Dr. Casstevens developed the NC State Suicide Prevention Proposal with co-investigator Dr. Jodi Hall to foster a culture and climate on campus that encourages outreach and help-seeking behavior. The proposal has been awarded a University Extension, Engagement, and Economic Development Seed Grant. “We need more outreach and education across campus regarding suicide and mental health,” Casstevens said. “One suicide is too many. This grant will enable us to raise awareness across campus about the issue of suicide, to share resources, and to train between 200 and 300 students during the academic year.” Suicide education and prevention programs will help students, faculty, and staff to better reach out to students in distress, particularly those in high-risk populations. “We want students to know where they can turn for support,” Casstevens said. “In addition to training students, we plan to offer up to 20 programs that will help faculty and staff understand and support at-risk students in the 2011-2012 school year.” The suicide prevention program has partnered with campus and community organizations including HopeLine, the NC State Counseling Center, and the campus GLBT Center to help raise awareness and support through events and outreach efforts. by Lauren Lopez-Ibanez, student intern
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