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New online suicide prevention training available to students

Suicide is second leading cause of death for college students nationwide but it can be prevented.

A new interactive 90-minute, online suicide prevention training program for UW–Madison students prepares students to support their peers’ mental health and intervene to prevent suicide.

The new training can be completed at one’s own pace and includes modules on recognizing warning signs, responding effectively, and referring to resources. It also includes practice scenarios. The new program is not considered counseling or support for students in distress. The new program was developed by Suicide Prevention staff at University Health Services in collaboration with the campus Suicide Prevention Council and is available in Canvas. The Suicide Prevention Council works on broader campus-wide strategies to strengthen campus policies and environmental strategies, use evidence-based frameworks and data to identify and prioritize student needs, build capacity among stakeholders, and coordinate and align systems and resources that support student mental health.

One goal of the new training is to give students tools and resources to support one another. Results from campus surveys show that students who struggle with mental health are most likely to talk with a friend before talking to anyone else, including a mental health professional.

“For seven years, UHS  evaluated the effectiveness of our suicide prevention training offerings and gathered feedback from students. This is an exciting opportunity to use what we learned and create a customized program to meet to UW-Madison student needs. The new program is one element of a larger plan to support a culture of care on campus,” says Valerie Donovan, the suicide prevention coordinator at UHS.

Non-students are invited to complete the online program and provide feedback, which will inform future trainings for faculty, staff, and graduate students.

For more information on the program, visit the Suicide Prevention Training webpage or email