Valenca, Maria

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OBJECTIVE: A baseline assessment examines the status of attitudes and perceptions about the suicide prevention program of a small, private, southeastern, Christian university. Gaps in the literature include the lack of baseline evaluations at universities before evidenced-based practice (EBP) interventions.

PARTICIPANTS: A purposive sample of sixty-nine sophomores classified as first-year students for the 2016-2017 school year. The study sample lived on campus both semesters of the 2016-2017 school year.

METHODS: Participants completed the retired Suicide Prevention Exposure, Awareness and Knowledge Survey (SPEAKS) – SV (Student Version) by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for the Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) Memorial Act Grant of 2004. The survey tool is delivered online through Qualtrics and measures suicide prevention knowledge and lived experiences on campus during their freshman year.

RESULTS: Participants identified the presence of a suicide prevention program on campus. The rate is 65.2% (n=45) respondents affirmed exposure to suicide prevention materials on campus, and the highest reported materials (36.2%) is in the form of posters, brochures, or printed media (ex. Suicide prevention hotline number). Only 11% (n=8) of the respondents indicated they had ever participated in a suicide prevention activity on campus as first-year students.

CONCLUSIONS: The baseline assessment offered data that is useful to determine areas of need. The need for training faculty and staff in EPB SP is a gap defined by this study.

KEYWORDS: suicide prevention (SP), lived experience, GLS Memorial Act Grant of 2004, suicide attempt, suicide ideation (SI)