The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is using a federal award to strengthen mental health services and suicide prevention programming on campus.

Announced in December, the three-year, $300,000 Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Grant will help Nebraska officials create a program to address student concerns, and provide consistent mental health and suicide screening options.

Nebraska’s Big Red Resilience and Well-being program will lead the effort, spreading campus wide programming and specialized training sessions this spring. Working with the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, they will create and use an evaluation plan for the overall initiative.

“In three years, when this grant is complete, the university will have a cohort of students, faculty and staff who are trained specifically to recognize signs related to mental health issues and empowered to reach out to help others,” said Connie Boehm, director of Big Red Resilience and Well-being. “The goal is to create an expanded culture of caring across the entire university.”

The first step in the program will come this spring as 1,500 campus volunteers will be trained in the REACH suicide prevention method.

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