Blocking the second highest cause of death among college students.
BRIDGEPORT, CT – Housatonic Community College (HCC) is leading the way in suicide prevention training across the state. With a goal of reducing suicidal behaviors and saving lives, the college began offering training to its faculty, staff and students throughout the 2020-2021 academic year. Last Friday, HCC expanded its efforts by providing suicide prevention certification training to community college educators and administrators throughout Connecticut.
Suicide is the second highest cause of death among college students. As students transition into college life and adulthood they face increased independence but also greater academic demands, adjustment to a new environment, and the task of developing a new support system.
“Colleges can offer a mental health safety net for students, as well as its faculty, staff, and the larger community,” said Kim McGinnis, Ed.D., HCC’s Dean of Student Services. “It is critical that we recognize the signs of suicidal and in-crisis behavior so that we can effectively intervene with life-saving strategies.”
Administrators, faculty and staff from community colleges across the state received the certification training at HCC, which was taught by suicide prevention expert Tom Steen, the Master Trainer in the State of Connecticut with over 40 years of suicide prevention training experience. In turn, the attendees will offer suicide prevention training to the students, faculty, staff and local communities that they serve.
“I am gratified that Housatonic has taken the lead in hosting this timely and important training. Suicide is a growing concern in the age range of students we serve so it is critical that our community colleges have the requisite training in this area,” said Dr. Dwayne Smith, CEO of Housatonic Community College.
Regrettably, the pandemic has only exacerbated mental health issues among college students. According to a BestColleges.com survey, 95% of college students report negative mental health symptoms as a result of COVID-19-related circumstances.
On July 16 HCC will hold a training course to prepare educational institutions to effectively and sensitively respond should an event of death by suicide take place. Additionally, HCC plans to offer suicide prevention training through its Continuing Education program as a course for community members this fall.
Funding for all HCC suicide prevention activities are made possible by the Garrett Lee Smith Grant from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). As a JED Foundation partner campus with a full counseling and wellness center, Housatonic is the benchmark community college in Connecticut in addressing the mental health of students and impacting lives throughout the state.
For more information on HCC and its mental health services, please contact Dr. Kim McGinnis at 203-332-5183 or firstname.lastname@example.org.