Suicide Risk Reduction and Basic Needs Education Program
for UNIVERSITY/COLLEGE Faculty, Staff, and Students


I CAN HELP is Suicide Risk Reduction Program for College and University Campuses. Programs such as I CAN HELP are designed for students, faculty, staff, and other non-mental health professionals are sometimes called gatekeeper training. This program can be provided to faculty, staff, or student leaders quickly and has no licensing fees. Choose from either of the two program lengths:




Advanced Course (4 Hrs)



Some campus choose to incorporate either the essentials or student skills course as part of a longer training that includes other topics (e.g. expanded basic needs content, sexualized-violence prevention, mental health resources overview, etc.)

Materials are available for educational use at no cost, and train-the-trainer programs can be arranged for those who want more support. Please see below for more details and information on scheduling a train-the-trainer event.


How does the I CAN HELP program compare to other campus gatekeeper training programs?


We know suicide prevention programs work and are more likely to be used that CPR training, yet less likely to be given. So, if you're not using one on your campus, please find one, and start. If you already have individuals in your campus trained in one of the other nationally recognized training programs (e.g. Campus Connect, QPR, Mental Health First Aid, etc.) and it's meeting your needs, that's fantastic. 

Balancing depth of content without making the program too long or too short is a big challenge.

I CAN HELP Advanced Course does a decent job at this balance, with a program that we recommend allotting 4 hours for. This means you can easily provide it in a single morning or afternoon session, without worrying about lunch breaks/costs, and you're likely to get more participation than a full day training. You an also split it up into to 2-hour segments on two separate days if you need. Those who need a full day training can expand on the included interactive scenarios for more depth.

I CAN HELP 90 Minute Essentials provides a complete overview of tools for audiences that simply can't dedicate a half-day to training. It covers most of the same basics as the longer course in all the key areas while saving more depth in the areas of suicide theory, conflict resolution, basic needs, and reflective listening for smaller audiences that want the advance materials at a later date. Some campuses choose this version as part of slightly longer training if they have lots of additional local content to include. 

I CAN HELP Student Skills offers a version specifically tailored for students with just the right amount of information to have a meaningful discussion and understand how to make appropriate referrals. 

Another feature that sets the I CAN HELP program apart is the breadth of its focus. Wellbeing is a whole-person activity, and goes well beyond just thinking about suicide. I CAN HELP includes information about trauma, adverse childhood experience, alcohol and other drug use, other basic needs like food insecurity, growth-mindset and resiliency, high conflict personalities, boundary setting, and more. All together this means you an achieve a range of education in a single program. 

I CAN HELP training materials are also based on cutting edge suicide prevention research and aligns intervention strategies intentionally with campus retention goals (see below for more information about both of these points). 


The core intervention strategies of the I CAN HELP program have been specifically designed to align with high impact practices to improve student success and campus retention. Please fill out the contact sheet below if you would like more detailed information. 

WHERE can I learn more about Three Step Theory (3ST)

I CAN HELP is based on one of the leading new theories in suicide prevention, the Three-Step Theory (3ST), which is supported by significant empirical evidence. 

David Klonsky and Alexis May have argued that an “ideation-to-action” framework should guide suicide theory, research, and prevention. From this perspective, (a) the development of suicide ideation and (b) the progression from ideation to suicide attempts are distinct processes with distinct explanations. As a primer, we suggest this article on the Three-Step Theory (3ST)

Can I use these materials for free?


The goal is to support as much positive change as possible at campuses accross the coutry. The materials are yours to use for educational purposes, just cite them properly and don't sell them. If you want to use the materials in conjunction with other campus-specific trainings, go right ahead as well. And, if you have ideas about how to improve the materials, please let us know using the form below. 



You're free to download and use the materials; I ask that you please add your name and e-mail below to help me ensure you are notified of updates and are always using the current version.

Content Overview

  • I CAN HELP Content Overview (PDF) | This single page summary of the content areas is useful as an overview of the topics covered, to share with others if you are considering using the program on your campus, or to distribute when advertising a training event. You may also wish to direct them to this page, or share the table of contents from the full training manual.

Train-THE-TRAINER Materials

  • I CAN HELP Training Manual (PDF)
    The approximately 170-page manual is designed to allow individuals with a wide range of backgrounds, including therapists, health educators, academic leaders, teaching and learning centers, and residence life or student affairs professionals at all levels, to provide the training to student, faculty, or staff audiences. The manual is not designed to be distributed to a wide participant audience. The manual is most easily used in combination with the Data Worksheet and Participant Handouts below. Instructions for self-printing the training manual are included near the end of the manual, or you can request pre-printed copies using the form below. A link to the full training manual and other materials will be e-mailed directly to you after completing the form below.

  • I CAN HELP Data Worksheet
    The Data Worksheet makes it easy to quickly share key data relevant to your campus AND provides guidance on where to find campus specific micro-norms in widely used national data sets. The data worksheet is designed to be used by trainers, and not for general distribution to participants.

Participant MATERIALS 

  • I CAN HELP Participant Handouts (PDF)
    Designed for distribution to participants every time you have an event. Printing instructions, if needed, for the handouts are included near the end of the training manual. The Participant Handouts packet includes the following:

    • Learning Outcomes Inventory

    • General Feedback Form

    • Interactive Scenario Sets 1-3

    • Quick Reference Guide Template you can easily customize


As a primer, try this article on the Three-Step Theory (3ST). Additional research on the efficacy of the I CAN HELP training program in achieving key learning outcomes is currently underway. Please complete the form below if you would like to be notified when the data is publicly available, or if you would like a discount on a train-the-trainer event along with easy participation. 


Three sets of ready-to-use presentation slides are available to trainers, one set for the 4-hour Advanced Course, one set for the 90 Minute Essentials, and one for Student Skills. Please simply complete the quick form below if you plan to use this program on your campus to receive all the materials. 


By submitting this form, you agree to receive occasional notifications about content updates (usually 1-2x per semester max); your information will not be shared or sold. You will receiving an email within 5 minutes -- please be sure to check your "spam/junk folder" and mark the email as safe to ensure you received future updates.

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