St. Lawrence University has received a three-year, $287,061 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to support its Comprehensive Care Network (CCN) Project. The project will use evidence-based approaches to improve the identification and treatment of at-risk students and expand access to services that address mental health, suicide prevention, and substance misuse.
Led by Director of Counseling Tara Tent and Director of Wellness Education Laura Lavoie M’09, the project will be informed by institutional research and baseline data produced through the University’s partnership with the nonprofit JED Foundation and its JED Campus initiative, a nationwide effort to help colleges evaluate and strengthen their mental health support systems for students.
“The CCN team is very honored and grateful to be awarded the Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Grant from SAMHSA,” says Tent. She also expressed her appreciation for campus and community partners that have committed to working with the University on its Comprehensive Care Network Goals.
This award will enable us to accomplish our JED Campus Strategic Plan and contribute to the overall wellness initiative of St. Lawrence University that has been established under President Kathryn A. Morris’ leadership."
—Director of Counseling Tara Tent
President Morris has prioritized the well-being of students, faculty, and staff, and has advanced campus wellness initiatives since taking the helm in July 2021. In August that year, the University created a Wellness Education office and hired Lavoie as its first Wellness Education director. Additional student mental health and well-being initiatives at St. Lawrence include a 24/7 counseling and crisis hotline, extended evening hours for counseling services, support and outreach to LGBTQ and BIPOC students, resources available as soon as all students arrive for their first year on campus, and a trained student-athlete support network committed to the mental health and well-being of student-athletes.
The CCN Project represents another step toward prioritizing student well-being. Drawing inspiration from JED’s overarching framework, the CCN Project team will collaborate with campus and community partners to achieve key goals. These include facilitating student help-seeking behavior through online tools and outreach, improving students’ access to counseling services, raising awareness about substance misuse, refining policies and care procedures in collaboration with campus partners, increasing the number of faculty, staff, and students trained in Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) and Mental Health First Aid techniques, and reducing risks associated with deadly means on campus.
To ensure continuous improvement, the CCN Project team will collect extensive data and employ both quantitative and qualitative evaluation approaches, aligning with the framework of St. Lawrence’s JED Campus Strategic Plan. These evaluations will help monitor overall progress toward the University’s goals and objectives.
“The SAMHSA Award not only acknowledges St. Lawrence University’s commitment to addressing the mental health challenges faced by today’s college students, but it also has an infectious ripple effect,” says Lavoie. “The impact of the CCN Project is set to extend far beyond St. Lawrence’s campus, inspiring other educational institutions to prioritize wellness opportunities and support systems for their students.”
September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. To anyone who is struggling, remember that it’s OK to ask for help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 988. Call St. Lawrence University’s 24/7 Crisis Counseling Line at 315-229-1914, or text 741741. Explore St. Lawrence University’s resources to support health and wellness.