Garrett Lee Smith Grant
The Garrett Lee Smith Grant is a 3-year grant directed specifically at suicide prevention for colleges and universities. This a Federally funded grant which is provided through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Each year approximately 15 schools are selected to improve suicide prevention measures, as well as enhance mental health awareness on campus. The grant bears the name of Garret Lee Smith, a 21 year old college student who took his own life a day prior to his 22nd birthday. Garrett displayed many warning signs prior to taking his life; however, these went unnoticed and unaddressed due to the lack of knowledge regarding these warning signs. Garrett was also diagnosed with a mental health condition 2 weeks prior to his death. The Garrett Lee Smith Grant is dedicated at creating awareness to prevent future deaths by spreading awareness, and making enhanced programing available to colleges and universities.
The University of Northern Iowa was awarded the grant in June 2017 and will participate from October 1st, 2017 through September 30th, 2020. The grant is designed to assist colleges and universities in building essential capacity and infrastructure to support expanded efforts to promote wellness and help seeking of all students. Under the Garrett Lee Smith grant, UNI has implemented suicide prevention gatekeeper training which is available to all students, faculty, and staff. Gatekeeper training is designed to enable attendees to recognize suicide warning signs, know how to ask if someone is suicidal, be able to encourage someone to get help, and know the resources available to be able to refer someone to get the help they need. Additionally, under the Garrett Lee Smith grant, UNI will enhance mental health awareness to increase the campus community in regards to reduction of mental health sigma, and increasing awareness of mental health services on and off campus.