Vol 40 No 1 (2010)

Campus Suicide Prevention and Intervention: Putting Best Practice Policy into Action

Cheryl A. Washburn
University of British Columbia
Michael Mandrusiak
Adler School of Professional Psychology


Findings from biannual American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment surveys have highlighted the prevalence of depression, suicidal ideation, and attempted suicides on Canadian university campuses and the need for comprehensive suicide prevention programs. This article explores how one large western Canadian university has attempted to implement the comprehensive framework for suicide prevention developed by the Jed Foundation. Based on recommendations included in this framework, a multi-faceted suicide prevention strategy was developed, focusing on seven broad intervention areas: 1) enhanced student connectedness and engagement; 2) increased community suicide awareness; 3) gatekeeper training; 4) collaborative identification and treatment of depression; 5) specialized training in assessment and treatment of suicide; 6) increased accessibility to counselling services for at-risk students; and 7) enhanced crisis management policy and procedures. This article reviews relevant empirical support for these seven intervention domains, provides examples of initiatives in each domain, and identifies implications for best practice post-secondary policy.



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