Funding Alert! Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grants

Department of Health and Human Services –

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Attention institutions of higher education! The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) recently opened a funding opportunity focused on mental health services for college students. The Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) Campus Suicide Prevention program provides institutions of higher education (IHEs) with funding to develop the infrastructure and sustainable capacity for effective identification, intervention, and suicide prevention programming on college campuses.

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible applicants include public and private colleges and universities. An IHE that receives funding from this program can carry out the project activities through college counseling centers, college and university psychological services centers, mental health centers, psychology training clinics, or IHE-supported and evidence-based mental health and substance use programs. Note that all applicants must register with the National Institutes of Health’s eRA Commons in order to submit an application, a process which can take up to six weeks.

What is the program goal?

The overall goal of GLS Campus Suicide Prevention grants is to develop a comprehensive, collaborative, and evidence-based approach to the following:

  1. Enhancing mental health services for all college students, including those at risk for suicide, depression, serious mental illness (SMI)/serious emotional disturbances (SED), and/or substance use disorders that can lead to school failure;
  2. Prevention of mental and substance use disorders;
  3. Promoting help-seeking behavior and reducing negative public attitudes; and
  4. Improving the identification and treatment of at-risk college students, so they can successfully complete their studies.

Funding from the GLS Campus Suicide Prevention program is intended to support infrastructure development, including such required activities as creating a collaborative network between the IHE and public and private entities (including behavioral health service centers); providing outreach services to inform students of mental and substance use disorder services; and training students, faculty, and staff to effectively respond to students with mental and substance use disorders. The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) includes the full list of required and suggested activities on pages 8-12.

The funder expects to award 24 grants of up to $102,000 per year over a three-year period of performance. This program requires 1:1 matching funds in non-federal contributions (cash or in-kind).

What makes a project a good fit?

Before a campus pursues new suicide prevention efforts, they should ensure that they have existing capacities, such as crisis response protocols (or plans to develop them), a referral relationship with on- and off-campus behavioral health services, and well-trained staff. Campuses should also work to increase these capacities through such activities as enhancing screening/prevention efforts and engaging community resources.

In addition, the proposed comprehensive plan should address the needs of students who are at risk for mental and substance use disorders, including veterans and other vulnerable campus populations, such as LGBTQ, first generation, transfer, or international students.

What if I am ready to apply? To move your project forward, take the following action steps as soon as possible:

  • Review the full FOA for additional details and project activities.
  • If your organization has never submitted a SAMHSA grant, you can find more information and watch training webinars about the application and submission process on the agency’s applicant resource page.
  • Begin the process of registering your organization with eRA Commons.
  • Make sure your System for Award Management (SAM) registration is active and be sure you have agov profile. You can check your SAM status here:

What if I need help with this application?

Contact Assel Grant Services (AGS) today! Our team can help with all aspects of preparing the application and managing the grant if you are awarded. If you would like to discuss this possibility, please contact AGS as soon as possible. Rosie Brennan, Community Engagement Specialist, will be happy to talk with you about this opportunity and provide you a quote for grant services.

What if I am not ready to apply this year?

Start preparing for next year! SAMHSA also has a variety of other programs and funding opportunities available that might be a good fit. The office’s website has ample resources, webinars, and descriptions of available or upcoming opportunities.

How do I learn more about federal grant opportunities?

AGS is excited to offer a new Federal Grants Training Series coming in 2021! The series is designed to support nonprofit professionals before and during their first federal grant. AGS also offers several on demand webinars on a variety of topics to support the full grant cycle. Check out our website to learn more and sign up for our training newsletter.

AGS blogs, funding alerts, and trainings are aligned with the Grant Professional Certification Institute’s Competencies and Skills

Competency #1: Knowledge of how to research, identify, and match funding resources to meet specific needs

Skill 1.2: Identify major trends in public funding and public policy

Skill 1.6: Identify fundable programs and projects for specific organization

Skill 1.7: Determine best matches between funders and specific programs

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