A suicide prevention initiative at a multi-campus university before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

This article was originally published here

J Am Coll Health. 2022 May 27:1-5. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2022.2076563. Online ahead of print.


Rising rates of depression, anxiety, substance use, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors among college students have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This report describes how the components of the Johns Hopkins Suicide Prevention Awareness, Response and Coordination (JH-SPARC) Project aligned with a multifaceted strategy for suicide prevention. Major programs included suicide screening, gatekeeper trainings, and use of third-party mental health services. With respect to suicide screening results, staff sent 36,148 one-to-one emails inviting students and interns to participate in stress and depression screening. This approach garnered 2,634 responses and connected 130 students to care, 66 (50.8%) of whom reported suicidal thoughts, plans or behaviors. We estimate that this screening costs $2.97 per student. Important lessons included reliance on virtual platforms and the need to coordinate efforts across multiple campuses. Our manuscript provides an example of a transferable suicide prevention strategy on college campuses in the pandemic era.

PMID:35623055 | DOI:10.1080/07448481.2022.2076563