The Ohio State University Suicide Prevention program redesigned its website and launched it at the beginning of August in the hopes of being more accessible to a wider audience. Buttons are laid out across the top for easy navigation and to get readers the information they need.
The prevention program is entering its ninth year, but this month marked the first time the website had undergone any design changes, said Darcy Granello, principal investigator of the program.
The previous version of the website was very factual, but not very approachable, Granello said. The changes aim to make information more presentable to visitors.
“We wanted to make sure it met the needs of our own campus and also provided information about the program to other audiences now that our program has gotten so much attention,” she said.
Granello, who recently returned from Australia after speaking at the Suicide and Self-harm Prevention Conference, said that 4 percent of OSU students attempt suicide every year, and 7 percent seriously consider it every year.
“Suicide is one of those things that nobody talks about,” she said. “Part of the campaign and part of all the work we do is to help people start the conversation, to help people who are suicidal to not feel so isolated.”
REACH is a training program that the OSU Suicide Prevention program uses to help faculty, staff and students prevent suicide. Training request forms are available on their website mainly for organizations, departments, colleges and programs, but individuals may also apply.
“The goal is not to make everybody — all faculty, staff and students — therapists, but the goal is to make everybody able to recognize signs of distress and know what the resources are and how to refer people to those resources,” said Micky Sharma, who sits on the prevention program’s advisory board and is a REACH trainer.
Additionally, Granello said the best on-campus resource for students considering self-harm is the OSU Counseling and Consultation Service, of which Sharma is the director. The CCS offers all enrolled students 10 free counseling sessions per academic year.
In the previous academic year, 7 percent of all students on the Columbus campus visited the CCS, which helps not only students contemplating suicide but also students with other mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, Sharma said. The service is featured under the “Get Help” section of the OSU Suicide Prevention program’s website.
“The website is a good starting point because many of our students are very web friendly in this day and age,” Sharma said.
“The focus of our website is all about prevention, all about getting people to the help they need, all about … resources on campus,” Granello said. “We are a resource-rich environment here, so it really is about connecting people to resources.”