Century awarded large suicide prevention grant

WHITE BEAR LAKE — Century College has been awarded a federal grant of $301,031 to help prevent suicide and enhance mental health services for students in crisis.

Century is the only Minnesota two-year college to receive a suicide prevention grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, in the recent round of awards. Century received the second largest award given to two-year colleges across the country.

The funds will be used over a three-year period to develop training programs for students and campus personnel, create on-campus networks, conduct educational seminars, prepare and distribute educational materials and promote the National Suicide Prevention lifeline (1-800-273-8255), which provides 24-hour help for individuals with suicide-related problems.

“This grant will help students know that there are places they can turn to for help,” said Anne Turnbull, director of the activities related to the grant. Turnbull will be assisted by Jesse Rae Rayle, an intervention specialist, and Katie Vadnais, a Century College student services coordinator.

Many of the training opportunities for faculty and staff will deal with recognizing student mental and behavioral health problems, such as depression and substance abuse, which may put students at risk for suicide and suicide attempts.

Nationally, suicide is the second learning cause of death among 25 to 34-year-olds. The number of suicides in this country is about twice that of homicides.