Monday, May 23, 2011

Daytona State among hosts of June suicide prevention conference

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (May 23, 2011) - College administrators, deans, counselors, school district officials and human service professionals from throughout Florida will converge at Daytona State College next month for “A Matter of Life & Death: Suicide Prevention Conference for College Campuses.”

The conference, scheduled June 2 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and June 3 from 9 a.m. – noon at the News-Journal Center, 221 N. Beach St. in Daytona Beach, is being hosted by Daytona State and Seminole State colleges, as well as the University of Central Florida, Daytona Beach Campus. The institutions are working in partnership under a federal Garrett Lee Smith College Campus Suicide Prevention Grant intended to help states, tribes, colleges and universities develop and implement strategies to reduce suicide among young people.

“By better understanding the extent of the problem and potential prevention strategies, colleges can help protect their students against suicide,” said Tony Deobil, a coordinator for Project SPEAK (Suicide Prevention Education and Knowledge), the three-institution suicide prevention program funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grant. “The educational objective of the conference is to highlight the significance of the issue of suicide prevention on college campuses and provide practical strategies to help develop campus-specific infrastructure.  It is our intent to provide walk-away strategies which are customizable and implementable to meet the needs of individual schools.”

In addition to general discourse regarding the state of suicide prevention programs on America’s college campuses, topics to be covered also include intervention strategies for specific student demographic groups, such as veterans, people with eating disorders, and gay, lesbian and transgender populations. Workshops will focus on employee training strategies, working with local mental health service agencies, setting up evaluation systems to measure the effectiveness of campus suicide prevention programs, collaboration with faith groups, and more.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students; however, many colleges lack a specific suicide prevention initiative on their campuses.  Fortunately, many of the keys to preventing suicides are found in strategies that raise awareness concerning suicide prevention, normalize discussions surrounding mental health issues, and reduce the stigma associated with seeking help.

For more information, or to register online, visit the conference website at Or, contact Deobil at (386) 506-4218, email: