A task force of UAB graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, staff and administrators met for one year to conduct an in-depth study of UAB resources and programs, national standards and best practices around suicide prevention in higher education. The outcome of the work of the task force was fifteen recommendations that were presented to the President and the senior cabinet. All fifteen recommendations were unanimously approved.

UAB President Ray Watts, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Pam Benoit, and Vice President of Student Affairs John Jones were all charged as the leadership to develop a comprehensive and coordinated suicide prevention strategy for the UAB enterprise. As a result, the UAB CARES Suicide Prevention Initiative was created in the fall of 2018 with a mission to support and assist the entire UAB community – no matter who someone is as part of the UAB community – in finding the help they need and to ensure them that they are important and matter.

 

How to Identify the Risk Factors for Suicide

  • Depression
  • Previous suicide attempt
  • Excessive alcohol or other drug use
  • Rational thinking is lost
  • Ending of a significant relationship
  • An organized suicide plan
  • Isolating himself/herself from friends and family
  • Neglecting appearance and hygiene
  • Expressing the belief that life is meaningless
  • Talking about suicide or death
  • Obtaining a weapon or other means of hurting oneself

How to Help Someone

**If a someone is in immediate danger or has attempted suicide, please contact 911, the UAB Police Department (934-3535), or have the student go to the nearest Emergency Department.

  • Listen intently and let the person express their feelings and emotions.
  • Let them know you are glad that are talking to you.
  • Practice reflective listening - reflect back to them what you think they are saying in a non-judgmental manner.
  • Validate their feelings and help them to calm and slow down.
  • Help them gain understanding of the situation and regain a sense of control.
  • Directly ask them if they have considered suicide (do not just wonder, ask).
  • In an immediate emergency situation contact the UAB Police Department at 205-934-3535.
  • Be willing to go with them to get help. Contact Student Counseling Services for assistance with students (205-934-5816) or the Employee Assistance and Counseling Center for assistance with employees (205-934-2281).

 

Mental Health Education

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Task Force Recommendations

The following recommendations are presented in three groups according to the Suicide Prevention Approach: 1) Prevention and Awareness, 2) Education, and 3) Policies, Procedures, and Services.

Accountability and Implementation. The full recommendation report contains detailed information about each recommendation and the following components 1) relevant level of social-ecological theoretical model, 2) relevant Suicide Prevention Approach Strategy components, 3) implementation team members, 4) current status of recommendation, 5) action items, and 6) cost

Assessment. Each recommendation will be led by a member of the Suicide Prevention Task Force and assessment criteria will be determined by the implementation teams to determine success, impact, and accomplishment of the recommendation.

Prevention and Awareness Recommendations

The purpose of the Prevention and Awareness recommendations is to move UAB toward a campus-wide campaign that raises the visibility and awareness around suicide prevention and addresses the following three components of the SPRC Approach:

  • Increase help-seeking
  • Reduce access to means
  • Promote social connectedness and support

Recommendation 1.1:  Work with University Marketing and Relations to build and design a toolkit to use for an enterprise-wide messaging and campaign to promote a community of care and direct UAB community members to resources.

Recommendation 1.2: Coordinate an enterprise-wide launch of the National Crisis Text Line partnership with UAB, which includes a direct text option to text “UAB” to 741741.

Recommendation 1.3: Create a UAB phone line dedicated as a 24-hour crisis line to be available enterprise-wide through a community partnership with the Birmingham Crisis Center.

Recommendation 1.4: Conduct an environmental and facilities safety scan of the UAB through the lens of suicide prevention utilizing existing best practices protocols. This includes developing recommendations for signage about suicide prevention resources or parking decks and pedestrian bridges.

Recommendation 1.5: Form partnerships with building design, facilities, and health and safety leaders throughout the UAB Enterprise to include conversations for future buildings and design projects to include reduction of access to means of suicide.

Recommendation 1.6: Explore developing an embedded mental health spaces across the campus community to support self care and promote mental health for employees and students.

Education Recommendations

The purpose of this section is to provide recommendations for educational programs and content to deliver to the campus that address the following two components of the SPRC Approach:

  • Identify and assist persons at risk
  • Enhance life skills and resilience

Recommendation 2.1: Purchase a license to offer Kognito At-Risk, an interactive online program to train faculty, staff, and students, through a cost-sharing approach. The objectives of the Kognito platform include: 

Recommendation 2.2: Develop a comprehensive suicide prevention and education strategy in order to efficiently manage resources and work toward the highest and greatest impact throughout the UAB Enterprise.

Recommendation 2.3: Expand the current resiliency resources for students and employees and develop resiliency initiatives for employees and students in order to create a culture of resiliency at UAB and build resiliency skills.

Recommendation 2.4: Strengthen partnerships with areas that support off-campus students to increase awareness, knowledge and skills of staff and student leadership in these areas.

Policies, Procedures, and Services Work Area

The purpose of this area is to review existing policies, protocols and procedures and make recommendations around the following four components of the SPRC Approach:

  • Respond effectively to individuals in crisis 
  • Ensure access to effective care and treatment
  • Support safe care transitions and create organizational linkages
  • Provide for immediate and long-term postvention

Recommendation 3.1: Conduct a comprehensive analysis of the staffing needs for licensed mental health professionals to provide mental health support for the UAB enterprise for the purposes of adequately responding to the demand for counseling support at UAB.

Recommendation 3.2: Review, update, create, and disseminate policies and procedures to support comprehensive, coordinated suicide prevention response and intervention.

Recommendation 3.3: Establish a seamless process for continuum of care for students and employees receiving mental health support.

Recommendation 3.4: Develop and disseminate clear role clarification of various crisis response efforts across the UAB Enterprise including but not limited to BTAM, CARE team, Crisis Response Team, and the Police Department.

Recommendation 3.5: Explore continuum of care coordination for suicide prevention, including who is responsible for facilitating the prevention, education, intervention, response, and postvention efforts related to suicide prevention for students and employees.

 

Members of the Suicide Prevention Leadership and Implementation Team

Angela Stowe

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Chair
Student Counseling Services

Tami Long

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Employee Lead
UAB Employee Assistance and Counseling Center

Lisa Schwiebert

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Kognito Lead
The Graduate School

Jonathan Adams

Jonathan Adams
Student Outreach and Student Conduct 

Laurence Black

Laurence Black
Post-Doc Representative

Annee Cook

Annee Cook
UAB University Relations

Blessing Falola

Blessing Falola
Psychiatrist, Student Health Services

Jennifer Griffin

Jennifer Griffin
Student Leadership and Involvement

Hana Habchi

Hana Habchi
Professional Student, School of Medicine

Tyler Huang

Tyler Huang
Student, President, Undergraduate Student Government

Meagan Jenkins

Meagan Jenkins
Graduate Student Government

Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson
Residence Life

Rebecca Kennedy

Rebecca Kennedy
Student Affairs

Robin Lanzi

Robin Lanzi
School of Public Health

Tracy Lyons

Tracy Lyons
UAB Retention Initiatives

Lori McMahon

Lori McMahon
Graduate School

Vani Mittal

Vani Mittal
Student, President, Active Minds

Veronica Mixon

Veronica Mixon
Undergraduate Student, Psychology

Rosie O'Beirne

Rosie O'Beirne
UAB University Relations

Dr. Danielle Pester

Dr. Danielle Pester
Faculty, Counseling Program, School of Education

Chad Petit

Chad Petit
GBS

Scott Pruett

Scott Pruett
UAB Psychiatry

Allison Solomon

Allison Solomon
Disability Support Services

Marie Sutton

Marie Sutton
Student Affairs Marketing

Caroline Tunkle

Caroline Tunkle
Student Counseling Services

Mary Wallace

Mary Wallace
Division of Student Affairs

Zandral Washington

Zandral Washington
UAB Police Department

Josh Williams

Josh Williams
Student Counseling Services

 

Caring is Sharing

Assets are available on this Toolkit to share across your platforms and raise awareness about UAB CARES. From a poster and website button to social media graphics, UAB CARES messaging is here to share with your audience.