Williamsport, Pennsylvania — Pennsylvania College of Technology’s commitment to student well-being — particularly in the critical areas of mental health and suicide prevention — has received a boost with renewed funding from a agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
The college has been awarded a Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant of over $284,000 through fall 2024. The goals outlined in the grant include implementing the college’s strategy in areas focused on students such as peer education, healthy relationships, diversity and social justice, bystander intervention, and holistic personal care.
The grant follows a 2015-2018 Addiction and Mental Health Services Administration award, which helped launch Penn College’s SPIRIT Project: Suicide Prevention Through Information, Guidance, intervention and training.
“This seed funding has allowed us to build capacity, promote awareness and connection to resources, and establish essential mental health training for students, staff and faculty,” said Kathy W. Zakarian, project director and director of the college council. “Our current need is to extend preventive measures upstream and to manage suicidal ideation, as well as to improve the resilience capacities of students.”
Among the goals for the current grant period are more frequent campus-wide screenings and assessments, greater collaboration with on- and off-campus resources, and a special focus on the most vulnerable and underserved populations: first-generation students, the LGBTQ community, racial and ethnic minorities, students with disabilities, student-athletes, and veterans.
“We aim to provide our students with what they need to establish and maintain good mental health and stay focused on their studies,” Zakarian said.