Youth suicide is a tragic loss which impacts the entire community. To help ensure all of our children stay safe and healthy, this important topic continues to be a focus of support and education especially in our secondary schools. Our schools have engaged students in a variety of prevention activities in recent years, in partnership with experts from Washington’s Youth Suicide Prevention Program (YSPP), the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network (SVCN), and the Student Assistance Program (SAP) operated through Prevention Center at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s (OSPI).
The following list includes some of the activities that have taken place in our schools, primarily at the secondary levels:
- The Talk Early, Talk Often campaign
is being launched during the 2014-15 school year. This social norms
project encourages parents to begin talking to their child early about
the dangers of alcohol and other drugs. It includes a flyer, movie
theater advertisement, and behavioral health resource list for families
on the Snoqualmie Valley School District website.
- The District is currently developing a Suicide Prevention Policy and Procedures to be implemented in 2015-16, in accordance with a recent state mandate of all school districts.
- A Drug/Alcohol Prevention Specialist works closely with Mount Si High School counselors and the school psychologist to identify and support at-risk youth, offer treatment options for families, teach prevention, and initiate student awareness campaigns.
- Youth suicide experts helped Mount Si High School create a sustainable Strategic Suicide Prevention Plan which includes on-going student/staff/parent training in 2012-13.
- Starting in 2013-14, experts at the Youth Suicide Prevention Program (YSPP), along with MSHS staff, taught a youth suicide classroom presentation to all students and staff at Mount Si High School. This program will be presented to students every other year.
- In previous years, MSHS students also received Youth Suicide Prevention Peer-to-Peer Training.
- Teen Resource numbers are printed on the backs of the Mount Si ASB cards, including a suicide hotline for handy student access.
- When the state-wide Safe Place program was introduced in 2013-14, Mount Si High School signed up to be one of the first high schools to be designated a Safe Place. Safe Place locations support teens in crisis situations, creating a safety net for youth. With this designation, any homeless student can seek shelter and immediate assistance for help and supportive services.
- Natural Helpers
is a well-established club at Mount Si High School and Twin Falls
Middle School. This program trains a new group of students each year how
to be peer mentors -– helping identify when students may seem at risk,
and knowing when to seek an adult’s help. Learn more about their activities on the MSHS Natural Helper website.
- Your Voice, Your Choice Video Contest was a district-wide contest in May of 2013 in which students created suicide prevention/anti-bullying/substance abuse awareness videos. As part of National Prevention Week, and in partnership with the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network (SVCN) and King County Community Organizing Program, we were awarded mini-grants totaling $3,000 to provide incentives for student participation. Check out their powerful messages at: http://yourvoiceevents.weebly.com/
- Be A.W.A.R.E Campaign was also spearheaded by Natural Helpers for National Prevention Week and beyond. The campaign promotes Acting against bullying/harassment, Working for kindness, Asking for help, Respecting everyone, and Experiencing life without drugs.
- Social Norms Project –Students in high school technology classes create positive norm messaging using Healthy Youth Survey data, health risk factors and school points of pride. These images are displayed on school TV monitors and computer lab screens providing regular reminders of prevention facts and positive lifestyle choices. http://designforsocialchange.weebly.com/social-norms-campaign.html
- Family Resource Fair, sponsored by PTSA in September of 2013, helped connect students and their families to a wide range of support resources and local services. A similar Wellness Fair, put on by high school staff in partnership with local health care providers and human service organizations in our area, was offered to students in 2011-12.
- Homeless Outreach professionals (Friends of Youth) are invited by the District to make regular visits to schools so that students are familiar with and know how to access case management and shelter services.
- Mental Health services are provided by Friends of Youth professionals at both the Freshman and Main Campuses.
- Parent/community training information has been offered through the Youth Suicide Prevention Program's "SAFE Talk" curriculum.
- MSHS Administrative Team members have been trained on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and H.E.L.P. Suicide Curriculum.
- The Safety Tipline resource at Mount Si High School, established in 2010, offers a way for anyone to report concerns regarding student safety anonymously via phone, email or text messaging.
It takes a community to keep our kids safe and healthy.
Additional suicide prevention resources include: