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Student Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Plan

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is committed to a supportive, student-centered environment. Through our efforts to support students, we recognize that student mental health plays a significant role in building success inside and outside of the classroom. As such we wish to share resources and information with you on mental health. If you or someone you know needs mental health support, please contact one of the 24-hour resources available in our communities. The information here is available not just for Penn Highlands students, faculty, and staff, but also for our community at large.

National and Local Resources

The resources below can assist anyone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts or if you are concerned about someone who may be at risk for suicidal behavior.

Local Resources

  • Cambria County: 24-Hour Mental Health Crisis Number – 988
  • REACH Crisis Walk-in Center: 110 Franklin Street, Johnstown (Central Park Complex) – 11am to 7pm (Monday through Friday)
  • Somerset County: 24-Hour Mental Health Crisis Number – 866.611.6467
  • Blair County: 24-Hour Hotline (CONTACT Altoona) – 814.946.9050
  • Huntingdon County: Tri-County Crisis Hotline – 1.800.929.9583
  • Centre County: Centre County Crisis Intervention
    • Call: 1.800.643.5432
    • Text: #63288
    • Chat: ccrinfo.org
    • Walk-In Center: 2100 E College Ave, Suite A State College, PA 16801

National Resources

Student Resources at Penn Highlands

Free, confidential counseling appointments can be made with the Counselor located in the Student Success Center. Students are referred to resources in the community for intensive or on-going support. The Counselor visits all campus locations to support students and can arrange for virtual appointments as needed. For additional information regarding counseling services or to schedule an appointment with the Counselor, Bridget Hall, MSW, please contact the Student Success Center at Tel: 814-262-6451.

Faculty & Staff Employee Resources

The mental health and well-being of faculty and staff are equally important to the success of students at the College. In addition to the resources listed above, faculty and staff can receive support through the Employee Assistance Program provided by Life Solutions. For more information, visit ADP and click on Human Resources from the home page. Reach out to HR with questions.

Warning Signs and Risk Factors

Warning Signs

Warning signs of suicide are indicators that a person may be in acute danger and may urgently need help.

  • Talking about suicide, wanting to die or kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling worthless, hopeless, or having no reason to live
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Suddenly happier and calmer, especially after a period of depression or sadness
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Getting affairs in order, making arrangements
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Acting anxiously or agitated, behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawal from or change in social connections/situations
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.
  • Anger or hostility that seems out of character or out of context
  • Recent increased agitation or irritability

Risk Factors

Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide. They cannot cause or predict a suicide attempt, but they are important to be aware of.

  • Diagnosis of depression
  • Previous suicide attempt
  • Family history of suicide
  • Loss of job, home, money
  • Death or terminal illness of a loved one
  • Divorce or loss of a major, significant relationship
  • Loss of health, either real or imagined
  • Someone close to the person has committed suicide
  • Recent disappointment or rejection
  • Being expelled from school/fired from job
  • Sudden loss of freedom/fear of punishment
  • Victim of assault or bullying
  • Questioning gender

Reference: https://preventsuicidepa.org/warning-signs-risk-factors/

Postvention & Communication Plan

Once in the fall semester and once in the spring semester, all students will receive an email with information about mental health support resources.

In the event of a confirmed death of a student, faculty, or staff member by suicide, the College will make supportive services available and will communicate directly with students, faculty, and staff. The Vice President of Student Services or designee will serve as the central spokesperson for all announcements to students and the college community and will work through the Marketing and Communications to ensure proper communication.