Funding from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Will Enhance Student Services

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – SUNY Orange has received a three-year grant of nearly $282,000 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to establish “Project Up!”, a program to increase awareness of the risk factors for suicide and promote the use of available campus and county mental health services.

SUNY Orange is one of 16 colleges and universities selected to receive a combined total of nearly $6.2 million over the next three years as part of SAMHSA funding that will assist those chosen colleges and universities in developing suicide prevention programming on their campuses. training programs for students and campus personnel, creating on-campus networks, conducting educational seminars, preparing and distributing educational materials and promoting the National Suicide Prevention lifeline (1-800-273-TALK or 8255), which provides 24-hour help for individuals with suicide-related problems.

The focus of “Project Up!” at SUNY Orange will be to create an informed and alert campus population and to lessen the risk of suicide and other self-destructive behaviors. A comprehensive awareness campaign will introduce students to existing campus- and county-based programs. Special attention will be directed toward two at-risk groups for whom the College would like to develop more specialized support services: returning veterans or relatives of returning veterans, and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender) students.

“Suicide is preventable,” said Pamela S. Hyde, SAMHSA administrator. “This new grant will help ensure that students know that there are places they can turn for help–even before they are at a crisis point.”

“This grant will allow us to expand our on-campus wellness program so we can focus on the ‘whole student,’” added Dr. William Richards, SUNY Orange president. “We are committed to providing a comprehensive support system for our students. There are many factors that contribute to a student’s success, and many others that may keep them from reaching their goals. We will make our students aware of services available both here at the College and throughout the community, and to encourage them to utilize those services if needed.”

“Project Up!” will emphasize three objectives: increase awareness and reduce stigmas associated with at-risk groups,; broaden expertise and cultural competence among staff and faculty; and increase social support networks for those at-risk populations. Through this program, the College will not be offering mental health services but rather providing information and referral services.

SUNY Orange expects to integrate suicide prevention and mental health information and activities into existing orientation programs for students, parents, faculty and staff. Online and print literature on suicide prevention, as well as available services, will be distributed, and awareness training programs targeting all facets of the College community will be offered. In-depth training will be presented to staff and selected faculty in such areas as advising and counseling, student activities, human resources, and safety and security.

The College will partner with the Orange County Department of Mental Health, Orange County Veterans Service Agency and the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center to expand referral services and will seek to develop stronger on-campus peer networks for at-risk populations.

The College will receive a total of $281,934 over the next three years, including $97,423 in the first year, to initiate “Project Up!”

SAMHSA is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. For additional information about SAMHSA and its programs visit

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940