Methods Members of the campus community (students, staff, and faculty) at an urban university in the Midwest were recruited to participate in various suicide prevention program activities (e.g., Mental Health First Aid Training, web-based suicide prevention training, guest speakers) and complete a brief survey about their experiences, attitudes, and beliefs (N = 1,476). To identify factors that may influence their attitude, confidence, and knowledge about MH, we conducted multiple regression. Outcome measures included scales assessing: (1) beliefs about MH, (2) knowledge about MH issues, and (3) confidence in intervening during MH crises. Program engagement (high, moderate, or low) and demographics (age, race, gender, student or staff/faculty, field of study/work) were used as independent variables.
Results The sample included 1,044 (75.2%) students and 345 (24.8%) faculty/staff. The majority (75.8%) of the sample was female, with half (50.1%) of respondents being between the ages of 18-24 and 34.9% between the ages 25-44. Most respondents self-identified as White (65.7%), with 12.7% identifying as Asian/Asian American, 11.6% as Black, 7% as Middle Eastern, and 4.4% as Hispanic/Latino.
Multivariate analyses revealed significant associations between program engagement level and the outcome measures. High engagement was associated with more positive attitudes (B = 1.216, p < .001), greater confidence (B = 2.433, p < .001), and knowledge (B = 1.415, p < .001) about MH and suicide issues, as compared to minimal engagement. Moderate engagement was significantly associated with improved attitudes (B = 0.783, p = .006) and greater knowledge (B = 0.888, p = .002). Respondents who identified as Asians/Asian Americans (B = -1.531, p < .001), Black (B = -1.164, p = .002), and male (B = -1.225, p < .001) had lower attitude scores compared to White and female respondents. Older respondents and those in a MH-related line of work/study (B = 2.064, p < .001) reported greater confidence, while men (B = -1.437, p = .005) had lower confidence scores. Faculty/staff had lower knowledge scores as compared to students (B = 0.718, p = .029).
Conclusions and Implications Findings suggest campus-based suicide prevention programs can improve attitudes and beliefs toward MH and suicide. Results also identified factors associated with differences in these outcomes. Additional studies are needed to further explore the multidimensional nature of these prevention programs. Future research can help us better understand how to change attitudes and improve prevention efforts.