MARSSH Protocol

Mandated Assessment of Risk of Suicidality and Self Harm (MARSSH) Protocol

This protocol is a formal, standardized response to Puget Sound students who indicate by actions or statements that they are considering, or have attempted, suicide, or have engaged in self harming behaviors. Based on the success of a similar protocol at the University of Illinois, the Puget Sound staff adapted the program for use on our campus. MARSSH was implemented here in January 2004.

At its heart, the MARSSH protocol is a public statement that suicide is unacceptable here. We are committed to acting to intervene when there seems to be a possibility that a member of our community is considering suicide.

When members of the Student Affairs staff (including Resident Directors, RAs, RPAs, RCCs, etc.) learn that a student has commented about thinking about suicide, has made suicide threats, has attempted suicide, or has engaged in intentional self harming behaviors, they are required to complete a Self Harm Report. (Any member of the campus community who is concerned about the potential suicidality of a Puget Sound student is encouraged to complete this form.)

The data from completed SHRs is evaluated by the SHR Review Team, a committee composed of three staff members (Deborah Chee, Associate Dean of Students, Sarah Shives, Assistant Dean of Students, and Dave Wright, University Chaplain) and three faculty members (Lisa Ferrari, Politics & Government, Betsy Gast and Grace Kirchner, School of Education). If this committee determines that there is sound basis for concern about a student’s suicidal or self harming behaviors, the committee may require the student to participate in four sessions of psychological assessment with a member of the CHWS staff, or with a provider off-campus. (The choice of provider is up to the student.) When the student has completed the mandated assessment sessions, the SHR Review Team is notified only that the requirement has been met. What is discussed in the sessions is not disclosed.

For more details about the specifics of the sessions and about information that will be released to the SHR Review Team, read through the MARSSH Disclosure Agreement. Other specifics about the MARSSH protocol can be found at the MARSSH Frequently Asked Questions file.