Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services


Despite debate over whether or not college student suicide rates are greater or less than similar age groups not enrolled in higher education, the rates of college students experiencing suicide ideation, attempting suicide, and successfully committing suicide are indeed rising. A steady increase in these rates over the last 15 years is evidence that this is an issue of great concern that needs further investigation and action. This study was focused on investigating what college and university counseling center employees with expertise in the development and implementation of suicide prevention programs believe to be critical components of an all-encompassing, workable suicide prevention program for colleges and universities across the nation. The Delphi method was used to collect and analyze data in this study using a panel of 29 identified experts, all who were currently employed as a mental health professional staff in a university or college counseling center.

The result of this study was the identification of 10 core critical components of a suicide prevention program for colleges and universities. The core critical components found were: education/outreach, student beliefs, training, therapist skills, resources, student services, assessment, risk identification, polices/protocols, and collaboration. All of the identified components can be utilized by any institution of higher education and can serve as a foundation from which any specific institution can build a comprehensive program that best fits its student body and overall campus community