What is a gatekeeper?

A gatekeeper is someone in a natural position to see warning signs of suicide in others. Gatekeepers interact frequently with students and can guide someone to the appropriate professional care or resources. Examples of gatekeepers might be Residence Life staff, academic advisors or student leaders.

Experts in suicidology have developed many kinds of training for gatekeepers. For WSU, we selected Campus Connect, a program developed by Syracuse University in 2005. This training teaches participants the warning signs and risk factors for suicide, how to ask someone if they are having thoughts of suicide and crisis response.

Campus Connect is a Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) best practice program. It’s a flexible training that allows us to adapt content to fit our university’s unique needs. A large portion of the program focuses on active listening and empathetic responses. These tools can help someone respond to any type of crisis.

This summer, we worked with Residence Life to train all Resident Advisors and Resident Executive Directors in Campus Connect.

Providing gatekeeper training is one step in many to prevent suicide on college campuses. Our next step is to take this training to other key groups, including:

  • Veterans Affairs
  • GIESORC
  • International Students
  • Campus Police

If you are interested in crisis response training, contact Victoria Braun by email or phone at 509-335-8998.