Hands of people in group therapy session

Suicide Prevention on New Jersey Campuses

Montclair State is one of only 17 colleges and universities nationwide to receive the prestigious Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention grant. As such, the University will expand its leadership role in preventing violence and suicide on New Jersey campuses, while supporting its commitment to destigmatizing mental health issues.

Jude Uy, Counseling and Psychological Services staff psychologist and suicide prevention coordinator, has received $102,000 of funding for the first year of the three-year award, which is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The award supports the University’s newly developed Project Suicide Awareness Violence Education and Response (known as Project SAVER) and supplements existing Counseling and Psychological Services initiatives.

It also supports Montclair State’s establishment of the first-ever formalized New Jersey campus suicide and violence prevention consortium, in partnership with the College Alliance for Prevention of Suicide. Network members will collaborate to decrease the incidence of suicides on New Jersey campuses by disseminating and sharing suicide prevention resources, information, policies and best practices.

“I’m hopeful Project SAVER can help destigmatize and shift public attitudes about suicide, mental health and help-seeking. We want to continue to create and sustain a campus culture of tolerance and acceptance, while focusing on the safety and care of our community,” says Uy.

Project SAVER’s holistic, community-centric approach includes developing “gatekeeper” training to help University faculty and staff recognize and respond to the signs and symptoms of mental health issues, as well as training to help students combat stress, anxiety and depression. Montclair State will also bolster its counseling center clinicians’ skills in assessing and treating students with high-risk mental health problems and expand social media outreach for crisis support organizations.

“Shame from stigma prevents important conversations about mental illness from taking place,” says Uy. “Grant funding will help us battle stigma on campus, as well as provide safety resources for both students and staff.”