Online Program

College Students' Intended Use and Perceived Helpfulness in Using Suicide Prevention Hotline to Help Another

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Amy S. Hedman, PhD, MCHES, Department of Health Science, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Mankato, MN
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for Americans 15-24 year olds. Nearly 15% college students reported feeling so depressed it was difficult to function (past 12 months) (ACHA, 2012). For students aged 18 to 22, 6.6% reported serious thoughts of suicide, 2.2% suicide plans, and 1.1% reported attempted suicide in the past year (SAMHSA, 2013).  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (SPL) provides free, confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis. Research on crisis hotlines has focused on hotline use among those experiencing distress or suicidal crisis. Little is known about individuals’ knowledge of, and intention to use, SPL to help others who may be at-risk.  This study will explore knowledge of and intent to use the SPL for another, among a sample of college students.

Methods: Permission was obtained to collect data in February 2015 by the university’s Institutional Review Board.  Sampling of a Midwestern college student population will be done in late February. Students will be invited to complete the “Knowledge, Attitudes, and Intended Use of the Suicide Prevention Lifeline Survey.” The survey will assess knowledge of the SPL, and observed warning signs in which respondents report they would likely call the SPL if concerned about another. Also, respondents will be asked to rate perceived helpfulness of SPL for each of the warning signs listed. Results are forthcoming. Conclusions: Forthcoming. Implications: understanding students’ knowledge and intentions of SPL to help another will provide guidance for (mental) health professionals in developing effective suicide prevention gatekeeper education.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe how knowledgeable college students are about a suicide prevention hotline. Identify warning signs in which college students would likely call a suicide prevention hotline to help a friend or loved one in distress. Identify warning signs in which college students perceive a suicide prevention hotline would be helpful in assisting a friend or loved one in distress.

Keyword(s): Suicide, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the primary investigator of the study and have conducted past research on suicide intervention.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.