After previously receiving funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), Valparaiso University has been awarded an additional Suicide Prevention Grant for the next three years. The grant will help build upon the current resources provided to aid in suicide prevention. Overseen by grant director Natalie Muskin-Press, the money will help reinforce existing programs and train more students in the Question, Persuade and Refer program (QRP).

“The grant really looks at expanding services and building up the infrastructure throughout the entirety of the campus and the community to help students help prevent suicide, to help students understand the importance of mental health, decrease stigma, kind of all those things to make campus healthier,” said Muskin-Press.

With the first Suicide Prevention Grant given, there was success in the creation of QPR training. This allowed volunteer students to learn how to ask questions and offer important aid to those in need and explain how they can get help. Those who are interested in joining QPR can contact for more information on how they can get involved. This training is just one of the resources that is made possible by the Suicide Prevention Grant.

The grant provides up to $240,000 in aid meant to be spread out in three separate payments across three years. As of Oct. 1, 2021, the university was given the first installment of the grant. Valpo is currently working to use the money to help collaborate with other organizations on campus, such as the Christopher Center Library and the student organization Active Minds. By using funding from the grant, VU is able to start developing more programs to help spread information about suicide prevention and tactics to notice the signs ahead of time.

“The second [grant] one is about kind of continuing and expanding some of the programs so we’re still going to continue to support QPR on campus. We’re also looking to help support Mental Health First Aid which is a more extensive training,” Muskin-Press said.

The funding has allowed the university to expand resources, ensuring that help is available to those who need it.

“This was a training that I thought was really important, but they [the university] were looking at only being able to provide it to a small number of students, whereas the grant was able to come in and say, ‘Ok now we can provide it to more so the reach is bigger and so those students now get to carry that training’,” Muskin-Press said.

With the help of the second Suicide Prevention Grant, Natalie Muskin-Press and the university have plans to make head way in ensuring all programs are able hire more staff, train a larger number of people and make sure suicide prevention continues to be a usable resource here on campus. In the coming years, the money from the grant will expand everything that they have done and create more.

“It’s really important to me because I think that it makes the campus and those around us look at mental health as a holistic thing and that it's everyone's responsibility,” Muskin-Press said.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.