Michael Anderson, Deseret News
Weber State University was awarded a $300,000 federal grant that will help support suicide prevention efforts at the university starting in the 2019 school year. The money will go toward training students as peer advocates who will be on the lookout and support others who may need help.

OGDEN — A $300,000 federal grant will help support suicide prevention efforts at Weber State University, starting in the 2019 school year.

A large part of the funding will go toward training students as peer advocates, who will help look out for and support others who might need help.

“No one is going to better understand that than a fellow peer,” said Amy Blunk, coordinator of Mental Health Initiatives. “I think a lot of students who are attracted to this class, probably already identify as helpers.”

Students will be able to get the training by signing up for a class and could ultimately help run support groups for other students. A recent graduate of Weber State, Corbin Standley was pleased to hear of the coming changes.

“I think it’s long overdue at most colleges and universities,” Standley said. He lost his older brother, David, to suicide in 2010. He was 21 years old at the time.

“We were used to seeing him on and off of medications and in and out of treatment for much of his life,” Standley said. “Some of those warning signs, we didn’t recognize, and we can’t always know when someone might be struggling.”

While at WSU, Corbin brought suicide prevention Out Of The Darkness walk to the school.

“I started that in 2015 at Weber State, to kind of create a culture on campus that was more open to talking about mental health issues and suicide,” Standley said.

He’s hopeful the upcoming initiatives will help even more. He believes it’s the kind of help his brother could have used.

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“If more people are trained and recognize the warning signs, we can intervene in a safe and effective way that’s helpful for those who are struggling,” Standley said.

Now a Ph.D. student at Michigan State University, Standley is making suicide prevention his focus and his life work.

“When I lost my brother to suicide that kind of further pushed my interest in psychology,” Standley said. “Knowing what I know now, I can see in retrospect some of those warning signs that I wish I’d known.”