University of Washington
Need help now?  Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255
Need Help Now? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 1.800.273.8255

Higher Education

Higher Education

Students at the University of Washington (Photo by Dennis Wise)

Report on Mental Health & Suicide Prevention in Higher Education

No college or university student in Washington should face behavioral health issues without appropriate support and treatment. No student should believe that suicide is the only option. No student should die by suicide.

 — Washington State Task Force on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in Higher Education

With staffing from Forefront, a statewide task force of representatives from post-secondary education and state agencies has completed a report on what’s needed to make mental health and suicide prevention a higher priority on college campuses across the state.

The Task Force on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in Higher Education was mandated in the 2015 legislative session by Washington House Bill 1138. Its report provides a national and state context for behavioral health and suicide prevention, a broad overview of initiatives in Washington and a summary of assessment findings and best practices. Read it here.

Its recommendations will be presented to legislators early in the 2017 session. In brief, they are:

  • Prioritize ongoing state funding to support behavioral health counselors at Washington’s postsecondary institutions;
  • Develop a public behavioral health and suicide prevention resource for all postsecondary institutions in Washington;
  • Establish a grant program to support resource-challenged postsecondary institutions; and
  • Require all Washington postsecondary institutions to submit an annual report focused on behavioral health awareness and suicide prevention to the Washington state Department of Health.

National Facts & Figures

The American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment (Fall 2015) reports the following data:

  • 75% of students reported feeling overwhelmed at some time during the past 12 months
  • 30% reported feeling so depressed it was difficult to function (past 12 months)
  • 54% reported feeling ‘sad to very sad’
  • 36% reported that anxiety negatively impacted their academic performance
  • 23% reported that depression negatively impacted their academics. 

Nov. 4, 2016

Additional resources:

Jed Foundation 

The Jed Foundation is the nation’s leader in college campus suicide prevention and has a wealth of tools available on their site, including the Jed Campus Tool which evaluates a college’s readiness for suicide prevention.