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Suicide Prevention at UW-Madison

As campus activities return to full swing, UHS recognizes that the month of September not only heralds a new semester, but also brings awareness to an important topic – suicide prevention. Suicide Prevention Awareness Month provides a dedicated time for our campus community to come together with collective compassion and commitment to learn more about suicide prevention and consider opportunities to support one another. Throughout the year, UHS and campus colleagues continue the work around preventing suicide and supporting student mental health.

Below are some key updates about suicide prevention efforts on campus. For questions on these initiatives and information on engaging with this work, email

Get Involved with Suicide Prevention Training

UHS offers online suicide prevention training developed specifically for UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff. We encourage all members of our campus community to participate in these educational opportunities. According to campus research, nearly half of students report receiving mental health support from their friends. The Suicide Prevention Training for UW-Madison Students teaches students how to intervene and offer support for their friends and peers. Recognize, Respond, Refer: Online Suicide Prevention Training for Faculty and Staff provides a valuable guide for having conversations about suicide and can also increase instructors’ confidence in talking with students about mental health. Both trainings are available through Canvas and are self-guided –learners can start, stop, and revisit portions of the training at any time. In total, the online trainings take about an hour to complete and are the first step towards supporting student mental health and preventing suicide.

University Health Services Awarded SAMHSA Grant

The UHS Prevention team was awarded the Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) Campus Suicide Prevention Grant by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This grant allows UHS to continue expanding suicide prevention programming and engage the entire campus community in supporting students’ mental health during the next three years. UW-Madison is one of 22 colleges and universities in the country to be awarded a federal GLS grant this year.

Local and National Resources are Available for Mental Health Support

After years of advocacy and preparation, 988 is now available nationwide as a new number to contact for mental health, substance use and suicide crises —a simple, easy-to-remember way for people to get help. The previously used 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number (1-800-273-8255) will not go away; it will route callers to the 988 Lifeline network. When calling or texting 988, people are connected with the Lifeline’s network of trained counselors who can help address immediate needs and connect to ongoing support.

UHS Mental Health Services continues to provide 24/7 crisis support to UW-Madison students, including consultation for those supporting a student in distress. The UHS Mental Health Crisis Support Line is staffed 24/7 by licensed professionals. The crisis line can be reached at 608-265-5600 Option 9.

Additional resources and upcoming events to support student mental health can be found on the UHS Mental Health website.

2022 Results from the Healthy Minds Survey Available Soon

In April 2022, University of Wisconsin –Madison students participated in the Healthy Minds Study. Results will provide a valuable snapshot of our campus climate and students’ experiences that will shape strategies, policies, programs, and services to better support student mental health. UHS will share findings with students, faculty, and staff.

Results from the Healthy Minds Survey prompt changes to important programs and services for students. 2019 results showed that 31 percent of students screened positive for depression and 27 percent of students screened positive for anxiety. Since the 2019 findings, University Health Services has increased mental health staffing capacity to better meet the demand for and extend services. Counseling hours for mental health have been extended Monday through Thursdays, counselors are now embedded in academic programs across campus, and UHS Survivor Services has been expanded to include a full-time advocacy team and additional mental health staff. The survey results also supported the development of new trainings for UW-Madison faculty, staff and students to recognize and intervene when students are in mental distress.