Garrett Lee Smith, son of Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon, “loved the outdoors and spending time with family and friends.” After his son’s death by suicide in 2004 the day before his 22nd birthday, Senator Smith proposed the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, which recognized suicide as the third leading cause of death among youth ages 10 to 24. Eventually, the Act would allow campuses, tribes, and states to apply for and receive grants to help them prevent stories like Garrett’s from devastating other families.
Monmouth University received the grant in 2012 for its Promoting Wellness and Resiliency on Campus Suicide Prevention Initiative. The University’s unofficial motto is “Hawks Fly Together,” and this grant emphasizes that goal. The three-year grant will Promote Wellness and Resiliency on Campus through ongoing trainings, programs, and public awareness campaigns; through this initiative the university seeks to make suicide prevention everyone’s responsibility.
Dr. Michelle Rish-Scott (Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work), Dr. Franca Mancini (Director of Psychological Counseling Services), and various graduate and undergraduate interns and assistants have worked tirelessly on this grant to better the campus community and increase student and gatekeeper knowledge about suicide and suicide prevention. In combination with students, faculty, staff, and other members of the campus community, suicide prevention at Monmouth University is becoming second nature.