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For Immediate Release
October 17, 2018

Purdue Fort Wayne Faculty Member Awarded $369,000 Grant for Mental Health Awareness and Training Program

Purdue Fort Wayne Faculty Member Awarded $369,000 Grant for Mental Health Awareness and Training Program Image 1
Jeannie DiClementi, associate professor of psychology Print-quality image

FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Jeannie DiClementi, associate professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a three-year grant valued at $368,664 by the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop a mental health awareness and early-intervention program at Purdue University Fort Wayne.

The program, Purdue Aware: Helping Our Students through Faculty and Staff Training, will have two areas of focus, one training faculty and staff, and the other offering screenings, assessment, and intervention for students.

Purdue Fort Wayne is working in collaboration with Park Center and the Bowen Center, with negotiations also underway to bring in the Fort Wayne Vet Center and the Veteran’s Administration. The program will offer mental health awareness training for faculty, staff, and interested students and families, including military veteran and active-duty students. Participants will be trained to recognize signs of emotional and mental distress in students that could range from situational problems like grades or relationships to serious mental illness, and then refer those students for early intervention.

“This new program is a natural extension of Project COMPASS (COMmunity Partners Against Student Suicide), our campus suicide prevention program,” says DiClementi. “Training faculty and staff to recognize student distress can help get students into services before they escalate to suicidality. Our intent is not to replace Project COMPASS or other programs on campus, but to add to efforts to better serve our students.”

Though it will serve the entire campus, the program will focus on at-risk students, including military veteran and active-duty students, members of gender and sexual minority groups, members of racial and ethnic minority groups, first-generation college students, and nontraditional students.

Purdue Fort Wayne and its collaborators will provide comprehensive screenings for depression, anxiety, and substance use or abuse; offer referrals for more extensive assessment and treatment when necessary; and develop and implement plans for re-integrating students into school after treatment.

Training is set to begin early in the spring semester, 2019.

This is the second SAMHSA grant DiClementi has been awarded. In 2012, she received the Garret Lee Smith suicide prevention grant to start Project COMPASS on campus, which to date has provided gatekeeper training to more than 2,000 people and also trained more than 200 people as gatekeeper trainers. Gatekeepers are taught about suicide prevention, how to help someone in crisis, and sources for referral.

This new grant brings DiClementi’s total to nearly a million dollars in funding for mental health programming on the Purdue Fort Wayne campus.

For more information, contact Jeannie DiClementi at 260-481-6397 or