POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) – The Idaho State Department of Education has awarded the Institute of Rural Health a one-year, $40,000 grant to address suicide prevention programs at the Idaho State University.
The Garrett Lee Smith-Post Secondary Suicide Prevention Grant, administered by the Idaho Lives Project, is in its first year, and the ISU application was the only one approved statewide.
“The grant will be used to strengthen programs already in place, coordinate activities on campus, or set up new programs,” said Dr. Erika Coles, affiliate professor at the Institute of Rural Health. “This is specifically aimed at the campus community, helping to identify signs of suicidal ideation and really helping to educate students about the resources that are available to them.”
Focus groups, which will include key stakeholders from across campus, will be set up in July to determine where the needs lie at UIS.
“Mental health stigma can impact whether or not a person seeks mental health services,” Coles said. “So we’re making sure there’s training in place for faculty and staff to help identify students who might need this extra support.” There is a nationwide shortage of mental health care providers, and this is one way to meet that need here on campus.
Coles pointed out that the ISU already has several programs in place, including free counseling and testing services for students, the Pocatello Counseling Clinic, and free one-day RESPOND training for faculty and staff who discuss warning signs and steps to take to help someone. struggling with suicidal thoughts.
“We’re very excited about this,” Coles said. “It’s a need in communities across the country, and it’s a way to make a difference.”