Every 17 minutes an American dies by suicide. It is said that the group that has the most to live for and the group that has lived the most are the highest risk. Deaths by suicide are the third leading cause of death in young people and the second leading cause of death among college students. These high rates are only surpassed by the numbers of elders who die by suicide annually. Although there is a general acknowledgment that it is a major problem, many lack a specific suicide prevention initiative on their campuses and in their organizations. 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. There are some practical steps that an organization can take to implement these types of strategies and help reduce the risk of suicide among various populations and risk groups.
Daytona State College working together with Seminole State College and the University of Central Florida (Daytona Campus) under a Garrett Lee Smith College Campus Suicide Prevention Grant developed Project SPEAK (Suicide Prevention Education And Knowledge). Project SPEAK will be hosting a two-day “Matter of Life & Death 2012, Conference on Suicide Prevention” which will focus on suicide prevention in various settings. This will be our third annual conference and we have decided to broaden the scope of the event. The educational objective of the conference is to highlight the significance of the issue of suicide prevention and provide practical strategies to help develop specific infrastructure. It is our intent to provide walk away strategies which are customizable and implementable to meet the needs of individual groups and organizations.