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Ongoing grant reaffirms college’s focus on suicide prevention

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s long-established attention to student wellness – specifically in the crucial areas of mental health and suicide prevention – has received a boost through renewed funding from an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The college was awarded a $284,000-plus Garrett Lee Smith campus suicide prevention grant through Fall 2024. Goals outlined in the grant include implementing the college’s strategy in such student-centered areas as peer education, healthy relationships, diversity and social justice, bystander intervention, and holistic self-care.

Pennsylvania College of Technology has been awarded a $284,000 federal grant providing renewed funding for suicide-prevention efforts.
Pennsylvania College of Technology has been awarded a $284,000 federal grant providing renewed funding for suicide-prevention efforts.

The grant is a follow-up to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration award in 2015-18, which helped initiate the Penn College SPIRIT project: Suicide Prevention through Information, Referral, Intervention and Training.

“That initial funding enabled us to build capacity, promote awareness of and connection to resources, and establish critical mental health training for students, staff and faculty,” said Kathy W. Zakarian, project director and the college’s director of counseling. “Our current need is to expand upstream prevention measures and manage suicidal ideation, as well as to enhance resiliency skills among students.”

Among the objectives during the current grant period are more frequent campuswide screenings and assessments, greater collaboration with on- and off-campus resources, and a particular emphasis on the most vulnerable and underserved populations: first-generation college students, the LGBTQ community, racial and ethnic minorities, students with disabilities, student-athletes, and military veterans.

“We aim to provide what our students need to establish and maintain good mental health, and to stay focused on their studies,” Zakarian said.

For more information about grant-funding opportunities, faculty and staff may contact Grants & Sponsored Programs at ext. 7580 or through its web portal.

For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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