Join Important Suicide Prevention Conversation on Feb. 8

Join Important Suicide Prevention Conversation on Feb. 8
Posted on 02/01/2018

Join Important Suicide Prevention Conversation on Feb. 8Suicide is the second leading cause of death among school age youth. However, suicide is preventable. Youth who are contemplating suicide frequently give warning signs of their distress. Parents, teachers, and friends are in a key position to pick up on these signs and get help. When all adults and students in the school community are committed to making suicide prevention a priority - and are empowered to take the correct actions - we can help youth before they engage in behavior with irreversible consequences.


On Thursday, February 8 at 6:30 PM in the Mason High School Small Commons, Dr. Gregory Hudnall will speak with families about a promising evidence-based, peer-to-peer program out of Utah that we expect to launch at Mason High School next school year.  Hope Squad is a peer-to-peer suicide prevention training that is rooted in research and will have a strong partnership with the Greater Cincinnati mental health community, including Cincinnati Children's Hospital.


Dr. Hudnall is a former high school principal, student service director and associate superintendent with the Provo City School District in Utah. He has been involved with suicide prevention for the past twenty years and has personally been involved with over twenty-five suicides as a first responder or consultant. He has spent the last fifteen years as the executive director of a community crisis team responding to suicides, and was invited to testify before the United States Surgeon General on suicide in Utah.


What Else is the District Doing?

Last year, we began offering Signs of Suicide training for students as part of our Health Curriculum in eighth and ninth grade. We also offered QPR suicide prevention training for parents.

This year, we've expanded the Signs of Suicide training at the high school for students who may have already taken Health, and are also training sixth graders at Mason Intermediate School. We continue to offer QPR training for parents.


Our hearts went out to the Perry Local Schools community after five students and a recent graduate in the northeast Ohio district of 4,700 students died by suicide this school year. Health experts call this a "suicide contagion" - which means exposure to suicide can increase suicidal behavior in others. In our district of 10,500 students, we have had five suicides in the last eight school years. We deeply grieved the loss of each student, and have worked hard to destigmatize mental health, while making sure our students have the resources to process their grief without glorifying or sensationalizing suicide which may increase suicide risk for other students.

 

Addressing the mental health issues that face our youth is complex and will take all of us: legislators, community leaders, health professionals, students, staff, parents, and neighbors.  At Mason City Schools we have mental health therapists available at all of our schools. If your child should be in need of services at any time, please contact a school counselor to assist you and your child in getting support.  


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