WMU observing Suicide Prevention Week
Sept. 8, 2008
KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University is helping to raise awareness about suicide by joining in the national observance of Suicide Prevention Week, which began Sunday, Sept. 7, and will run through Saturday, Sept. 13.
To mark the week, the Suicide Prevention Program, a WMU volunteer group, is making presentations to such groups as the Faculty Senate and distributing materials across the University.
The group also will be involved in various on- and off-campus activities. These include holding a celebration during its advisory board meeting Friday, Sept. 12, to recognize members of the local community who have been providing special support, and participating in an Out of the Darkness community walk Saturday, Sept. 13, that is being sponsored by Project Light. Online training is also available for faculty and staff.
Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among college students in the United States. WMU redoubled its efforts to confront this tragic reality last fall, when the Suicide Prevention Program stepped up its educational activities and unveiled the WMU Suicide Prevention Web site.
Dr. Kathryn Lewis-Ginebaugh, assistant director of the University Counseling and Testing Center, notes that a three-year federal grant awarded in 2006 has helped fund the stepped-up activities.
"WMU was one of about 50 universities nationwide to receive a Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act grant to raise awareness about suicide and destigmatize people getting help," Lewis-Ginebaugh says. "For the past two years we've been educating the University community about risk and protective factors, where to find resources, and how to talk to people who may be suicidal."
The Smith Act, signed by President George W. Bush in 2004, is the first federal legislation to provide specific funding for youth suicide prevention programs. It authorized $82 million to be awarded through the Campus Suicide Prevention program, which is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the Department of Health and Human Services.
For more information about WMU's Suicide Prevention Program, contact Lewis-Ginebaugh at email@example.com or (269) 387-1881. For more information about national suicide prevention initiatives, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration online.
Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org