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IPFW takes myriad steps to prevent suicide

Norman
DiClementi

We appreciate the concerns expressed in your recent articles regarding the recent suicides of IPFW students. Nobody can imagine the unspeakable losses these tragedies have brought.

In the interest of providing additional information and resources, we would like to detail the ongoing programs addressing suicide that we have at IPFW.

Project COMPASS

COMmunity Partners Against Student Suicide is the campus suicide prevention and education program. With our grant plus matching funds, the actual amount is over $500,000. This seed money initiates a program that will be self-sustaining after the grant expires.

We provide education and gatekeeper training to all faculty, staff, students and their families, as well as communities of faith, free of charge. We provide ongoing mental health assessment.

To date, we have administered depression assessments to more than 1,000 students on our campus. In one day alone, we identified 12 students in need of emergency intervention, who we then connected to counseling services.

We provide consultation and referral services and are developing programming to reduce the stigma of depression and suicide.

All of these efforts increase help-seeking behavior and reduce access to lethal means through our Talk About It, Safe Campus, and Lock It Up campaigns.

Our advisory committee consists of representatives from more than 20 campus departments, plus churches and organizations in the Fort Wayne community.

We encourage anyone with questions about our program or suicide to call us at 260-481-6778. As always, if it is an emergency, call 911.

Student Assistance Program

The university provides free counseling to currently enrolled students to address self-injurious thoughts and plans. Counselors provide short-term interventions to address concerns such as anxiety, depression, relationship issues, financial stress, loss and academic challenges.

Students can utilize this service on campus as well as at participating Parkview mental health facilities. A great advantage of this approach is the streamlined connection with the physical health facilities, as many of the concerns have a health-related component.

Care Team

The office of the dean of students facilitates a group of professionals from across campus that meet on a weekly basis (and for emergency referrals) to discuss and coordinate help for students who may be in distress. Follow-up assistance is provided and appropriate referrals are made for situations that are elevated.

Crisis Intervention Team officers

IPFW Police have a set of trained officers to evaluate situations where a student may be in need of psychological assistance. These officers are able to examine situations in which a person may need to be taken to the hospital or just given additional resources to deal with a crisis.

These programs are used in conjunction with a variety of community resources to provide a comprehensive safety net. We promote the national Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) as well as other programs in northeast Indiana.

Inevitably, there are stressors and conditions that may lead people to contemplate and even act in a manner that can cause harm to themselves. These programs are just some of the resources that IPFW provides to inform and educate so that we can help anyone in this collegiate community.

IPFW’s Jeannie DiClementi is an associate professor of psychology and Eric Norman is dean of students. They wrote this for area newspapers.

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