Date of Award

Spring 5-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Graham Weir

Second Advisor

Dr. Marsha Andreoff

Third Advisor

Dr. Owen van den Berg


More than 34,000 Americans take their lives each year. Twelve percent of those suicides are in the 15-24-year-old age group. Although, overall for this age group, suicide is the number three cause of death, across college campuses it is quickly becoming the second leading cause, with accidents being number one. There are multiple contributing factors for suicide and suicidal ideation among the college population and many campuses have suicide prevention information; however, fewer have actual suicide prevention programs in place. Several areas that contribute to suicide risk for college-aged students were reviewed including: (a) depression, suicidal history, and hopelessness; (b) alcohol and drug abuse; (c) relationships; (d) sexual identity issues; (e) academic concerns and pressures; (f) social media and the Internet. This study is a combination of multiple methods of qualitative analysis, case study, and autoethnography. The purpose was to investigate what counselors on college campuses thought were effective components of their suicide prevention programs. The research was conducted using a seven item online survey comprised of both questions and statements. An invitation was sent to 150 counselors across the U.S. Each of the survey recipients was randomly chosen from a comprehensive list of colleges and universities. Follow-up items, from which conclusions were drawn about what components aided in the success of the college suicide prevention programs, were sent to all of the colleges that had previously been invited to participate in the survey. After receiving all of the responses, conclusions were drawn about what components aided in the success of the program. One hundred and fifty survey invitations were sent and of those 74 college counselors initially responded. Item one, an elimination statement, brought the number of participating colleges to 64. Each of the 64 college counselors participated in the entire survey. Ninety percent of college counselors claimed that their suicide prevention program was effective. Fourteen counselors responded to a follow-up item regarding how counselors know that their program is effective. There was no consistent method of measurement, and few colleges could demonstrate a clear method of data collection or parameters to show successful outcomes.


Copyright 2011