Wichita State University (WSU) is proposing a suicide prevention project whose purpose
is to eliminate deaths by suicide in the University community through the increase of an
infrastructure of education, training, and dissemination of information to all faculty, staff,
students and their families. WSU plans to create an environment in which mental health issues
are not stigmatized, seeking help is encouraged and seen as a strength, and members of the
campus community step in to prevent harm to each other. This will be accomplished through the
development of collaborative networks, innovative marketing campaigns, recognition and referral training programs, and educational programs. Although all members of the campus will be included, this project will work to provide targeted programs and outreach to students at particular risk including those who identify themselves as LGBTQ, military veterans, first year students and those living in campus residence halls. Particular attention will be paid to students who are often marginalized including those who are minority students or have mental health disabilities.
WSU is a public state university with an enrollment of 15,550 students. It is located in the largest city in Kansas, Wichita. The University is primarily a nonresidential campus and is considered the most ethnically diverse public university in the State of Kansas. The need for comprehensive suicide prevention efforts is clear from data derived from the University’s participation in national health surveys and information regarding suicide rates in the surrounding community. In 2020, surveys indicated 5.8% of students reported that they had thought about killing themselves 5 or more times, 3.5% reported that it is likely that they will attempt suicide someday, and 2.4% attempted suicide in the past year. The county in which the University resides has consistently higher rates of suicidal behavior than the national average as well.
Six goals are designed to impact the entire campus as a whole by creating a permanent infrastructure change for prevention services as well as approximately 5000 persons directly over the 3 year project period. These goals are: 1) Increase student engagement in suicide prevention trainings and voluntary mental health screens, 2) Provide translations of trainings to increase participation for individuals with limited English pr
oficiency, 3) Create and distribute trainings related to preventing substance abuse and promoting mental wellness, 4) Increase infrastructure between WSU and community mental health and suicide prevention partners