PORTLAND, Maine — The University of Southern Maine is creating a network of students trained to recognize the warning signs of suicide among their peers.
The program is being put together by psychologist Micheline Hagan, who was hired in September following a school year in which three USM students died, including one which was ruled a suicide.
Hagan said a student contemplating suicide is more likely to talk to a friend about the problem than set up an appointment with a school counselor.
She told The Portland Press Herald that if students are trained to recognize the signs of mental illness, they can connect classmates in crisis with the help they need.
The program, called USM Cares, is funded by a $306,000 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.