September 12, 2018
Dear Bobcat Parent and Family Members,
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, which calls us to action on a topic we take very seriously at Montana State University. While last year we did not have a completed suicide on campus, we had over 40 students who needed medical attention for suicide attempts.
It is a devastating reality that suicide is the second leading cause of death, after traffic accidents, among college students. The adjustment to college life can feel overwhelming for some, but we are committed to making sure everyone on our campus knows that help is never more than a phone call away and that they could be the person to save someone's life.
Montana State is committed to breaking down the stigmas around mental health and creating a culture where seeking help is a sign of strength. We do this through our continued commitment to offer clinical services, prevention programs, awareness and bystander intervention education, crisis response and cutting-edge research.
Like any other medical ailment, anxiety and depression are treatable conditions. Our Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) is your student's most important resource when it comes to their mental and emotional health and wellbeing. This month, the CPS staff is reaching out to all MSU faculty, staff and students with suicide prevention trainings and education. CPS and staff in my office provide support and a coordinated response when a student is exhibiting signs of a severe mental health crisis and needs critical care.
Last year we launched Mental Health First Aid, a program that teaches faculty and students how to support others with a mental health or substance use problem. It uses a skills-based teaching model similar to traditional First Aid, so participants learn how to respond in an appropriate and supportive way. Mental Health First Aid has been so well received on campus that we have added additional staff to teach and manage the program. Thanks to financial support from our Parent and Family Fund, we were able to cover program certification training costs for additional CPS staff.
Sometime this month, I want all of our parents and family members to review the critically important resources for you on our CPS website. And if you are ever worried about your student, please never hesitate to call my office and/or report your concerns.
In good health,
Matthew R. Caires
Dean of Students