More Aware Initiative
Kent State University's College of Public Health received a three-year $306,000 federal grant in 2018 and again in 2021 to be used for suicide prevention and to address other student mental health needs. The Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant funds the More Aware initiative.
The More Aware initiative is a comprehensive, collaborative, innovative, and unified approach to improving student mental health and wellness across the Kent State University (KSU) eight-campus system. Evidenced-based gatekeeper trainings, mental health screenings, and peer-led wellness programs and educational campaigns, designed for a diverse group of students and including those most at-risk, are the defining features of the initiative.
The More Aware initiative focuses on five key areas.
1. Infrastructure: The initiative will collaborate with campus and community stakeholders to support a comprehensive and coordinated infrastructure to expand and enhance mental health services and programming, increase help-seeking behavior, and reduce negative attitudes related to mental illness.
3. Mental Health Screening: The initiative promotes online/in-person mental and substance abuse screenings and distributes mental health and substance use educational materials at in-person screenings.
4. Awareness of Mental Health Services: The initiative works closely with the Division of Student Affairs, KSU CARES Center and Student Multicultural Center to unify mental health promotional efforts and ensure the print and social media campaign is appropriate for a diverse group of students. Hear to Help, a campaign that identifies those who have taken a gatekeeper training, is being marketed across campuses and made available to other institutions.
5. Disseminate Educational Materials: U Goods, peer-led programs designed to enhance mental wellness, increase resilience, and improve coping strategies, are held throughout the year. U Goods are being manualized and made available to other institutions. Peer mentors will be used to educate and connect students to resources on mental health and substance use disorders.