MVSD is offering a suicide prevention training for parents and community members on Monday, March 6th from 6:30 to 8 PM at The Cove in Twisp. District parents and community members who interact with teens are encouraged to attend. Free childcare will be provided.
As part of the school’s partnership with Forefront, a suicide-prevention initiative through the University of Washington, trainings are offered to specific segments of the school community.
The upcoming community training will be led by Dea Luvon, Room One Social Work intern and Hilary Kaltenbach, parent, who are both members of MVSD’s Suicide Prevention team. During the hour-long community training, participants will practice using Forefront’s LEARN approach.
The LEARN steps are designed to help participants recognize who might be having thoughts of suicide and to know how and where they can refer those individuals to keep them safe. The training will include practice using these steps and plenty of time for questions.
FOR EVENT INFORMATION
Forefront in the Schools (FIS) is an initiative of Forefront Suicide Prevention at the University of Washington designed to guide schools through a collaborative, comprehensive process of policy development and curriculum improvement with customized support to build upon existing student mental health and suicide prevention efforts.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24 in Washington and the United States, behind motor vehicle accidents. Two youth are lost to suicide each week in Washington State. Due to complex cultural factors, rates of youth depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and attempts are at an all-time high.
Crosby Carpenter, Liberty Bell principal, sees the connection between Forefront and the school’s mission: “Our partnership with Forefront gives our staff the tools to address the social and emotional needs of our students and helps us reach our goal of becoming a trauma-informed campus.”
Liberty Bell joined Forefront in part due to student work toward improving mental health support for teens. In 2017, Liberty Bell alumna Isabel Salas created the student club HOPES, Helping Our Peers End Suicide. Salas presented her work with HOPES at January’s 2019 TEDxWenatchee.
Erika Spellman, Liberty Bell’s counselor, sees the need for a community-wide focus on teen mental health first hand. She reflects, “Today’s youth face many pressures with some hitting their breaking point. Suicide rates for 15-19 year olds are at their highest since 2000. At Liberty Bell, we want to prevent, educate, and bring awareness to our school community and the Methow Community at large. We want to provide our students, staff, and parents with the proper tools to be able to join us in our efforts to prevent suicide.”
Forefront’s specific trainings for teachers, parents, students and community members are key in their goal to create a school-community that is prepared to prevent student mental health problems before they occur and to respond to students with mental health needs including those who are at risk for suicide.