Suicide Prevention Efforts

If you or someone you know is at immediate risk of harm to self or others, please call 911 or UMPD at 207-581-4040. For additional information and resources, please visit us HERE.


We believe that suicide is preventable. We believe that anyone can be at risk of suicide. We believe that most people are ambivalent about dying and would like to an opportunity to explore reasons for living and reasons for dying. We believe that by providing information and resources, we can make UMaine a suicide-safer community. Check out some ways that we are doing this.

Gatekeeper Trainings

For Students

It’s the topic that no one talks about– yet suicide touches the lives of thousands of college students every year. Whether you are a student group or a faculty member who wants to offer this training to your students, we can provide the tools for identifying suicidal behavior in this 80 minute presentation (can be modified for 50 minute classes), which is based on training by the Maine Youth Suicide Prevention Program. Emphasis will be placed on learning practical interventions that may save lives.

For Staff & Faculty

UMaine faculty and staff have significantly more contact with students than the Counseling Center staff. Our goal is to make UMaine a suicide-safer community and that starts with training you to recognize the signs of a person at risk and know what steps to take next. We can do that in a couple different ways.

The Basics about Suicide (10-15 minutes)

  • Introduces participants to the Counseling Center.
  • Informs faculty and staff of the basics of suicide prevention.
  • Describes the intervention and referral basics.

Gatekeeper Training (2 hours)

  • Learn to recognize early signs of depression and suicide.
  • Learn more about the resources on campus.
  • Develop more comfort and skill in talking about depression and suicide.
  • Practice making interventions and referrals.

To schedule a training, please contact Shane Cushing.

Out of the Darkness Community Walk

Each fall we walk in support of those who struggle with feelings of hopelessness and thoughts of suicide. We also walk to honor those who have died by suicide, and to offer support to those who have lost a loved one to suicide. By joining together as a community, our goal is to raise awareness about suicide and reduce stigma so that more people feel safe to get the help they need.

This year’s walk will take place on Sunday October 2, 2016. For more information and to register for this year’s event, visit the AFSP UMaine and Orono Walk page and follow our Facebook Event Page.

All funds raised go to support the efforts of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the national leader in the fight against suicide through research, educational programs, public policy, and support. Their mission is to SAVE LIVES AND BRING HOPE TO THOSE AFFECTED BY SUICIDE.

History of the Counseling Center’s Suicide Prevention Efforts

The funding received from a SAMSHA/Garrett Lee Smith grant from 2008-2011 enabled us to develop targeted suicide prevention programming.  The focus of the project was on providing training, education, referral, web-based assessment and suicide prevention services for all 11,000+ students, staff & faculty at the University of Maine. Our mission was, and continues to be, to engage at-risk students, reduce barriers to services, facilitate access to mental health and other university resources, and promote help-seeking behavior.

Goals during the time of the grant included:

  1. Training ten percent of faculty and staff as “gatekeepers” capable of identifying, intervening and referring at-risk students to professional health care providers and other university resources.
  2. Selecting a group of students to participate in a class and receive training to become Touchstone Peers, which works to decrease stigma associated with mental illness and seeking help and increases student engagement.
  3. Integrating web-based technology and electronic communication as a means to lower barriers and promote access to mental health services and information.

When developing programs, we were inspired by the research of suicidoligist Dr. Thomas Joiner and took into account that students who are engaged are less likely to attempt or die by suicide than those who are isolated and marginalized. The goal of the programs we continue today are focused on crisis intervention with efforts to engage students who would not otherwise be reached.

For more information, please visit the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC).