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Grant Will Help Enhance Mental Health Services for Students

Keene, N.H., 9/27/05 - Keene State College will receive a campus suicide prevention grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to enhance services for students with mental and behavioral health problems, it was announced Wednesday, Sept. 20.

According to Candice Wiggum, director of the Counseling Center at Keene State, the grant, worth $31,490, will be used to train KSC staff to recognize the signs of suicide and to provide ongoing assessment and help for students who may be suicidal.

SAMHSA announced 37 grants worth $9.7 million to support national suicide prevention efforts. Twenty-two campuses were awarded campus suicide prevention grants. According to SAMHSA, last year approximately 712,000 young people in the U.S. attempted suicide during episodes of depression.

“This grant will give students, staff and faculty tools in identifying students who may be suicidal, in persuading them to seek help, and in knowing the resources that are available,” said Wiggum. “It will also give the College a way to reach out to these students to help them stay safe and in school.”

The QPR Institute of Spokane, Wash., will provide training to KSC counselors and other student affairs staff. Once KSC counselors and other staff have received training, they will in turn train students, faculty, and staff who have on-going interactions with students to recognize the signs of suicide and persuade the person to seek help.

The grant will also be used to develop a mandatory suicide assessment protocol for students who have attempted suicide, are openly threatening suicide, or who have been transported to the hospital for alcohol poisoning. It will provide release time for counselors to see these at-risk students to assess their level of safety, to look at coping mechanisms and devise a plan to help them stay in school safely, and to connect them with all appropriate resources. For those who have been transported for alcohol poisoning, it will include alcohol assessment and education sessions.

“We are very excited to have received this grant,” said Wiggum. “It will help us identify and reach out to a vulnerable population and provide support and resources to them.”

For more information, contact Candy Wiggum, director of the Counseling Center, at 603-358-2438.

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Keene, New Hampshire 03435