Grant enables Troy University professors to launch suicide prevention program

A grant is funding a suicide prevention program led by Drs. Kanessa Doss, Sherrionda Crawford and Shelley Reed.

A grant is funding a suicide prevention program led by Drs. Kanessa Doss, Sherrionda Crawford and Shelley Reed.

Three Troy University professors are working to raise awareness about suicide risk factors and provide resources to aid in its prevention thanks to a grant from the Alabama Department of Public Health and its Bureau of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease through a cooperative agreement with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Dr. Kanessa Miller Doss, assistant professor of psychology, is teaming with Dr. Sherrionda Crawford and Dr. Shelley Reed, both assistant professors of counseling, in The Trojan Suicide Prevention Program, which will focus on communities surrounding the University’s Montgomery and Phenix City campuses.

“Receiving this grant from the Alabama Department of Public Health is very important because suicide is a serious issue on college campuses,” Dr. Doss, the project’s director, said. “We are trying to make people aware of the warning signs and to give them resources to help individuals through those issues.”

The program will kick off this month with educational seminars at TROY’s Montgomery and Phenix City campuses, designed to raise awareness of the warning signs of suicide, as well as educate participants about resources available both nationally and within the community. The first session, “Suicide Awareness 101: What More Can You Know?”, will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15 in the Rosa Parks Museum Auditorium on the Montgomery Campus, and at 5:30 p.m. (EST) on Feb. 21 in room 101 at TROY’s Phenix City Riverfront Campus.

“The program is multifaceted because we are working with various populations,” Dr. Doss said. “We will be working with the student population, but also we will provide training to faculty and staff to help them be able to identify these factors within the student population. We will also have a community rally where we will try to bring individuals together, including those who work with suicide prevention or any populations with depression or clinical factors.”

Doss and her colleagues bring to the program experience in dealing with the various issues such as bullying, cyber-bullying, depression, and suicide prevention training for clinicians from their backgrounds in counseling and psychology, making the program to educate others a natural progression.

“We are all from different areas of counseling and psychology,” Doss said. “We all have experience looking at issues that have to do with bullying, depression and social and emotional factors that go on with students, and we felt that this program would be an excellent way to raise awareness about these problems and how to address them.”