MCPS Working With Teachers And Counselors On Suicide Prevention Program
After a Colorado school district dealing with the loss of seven students who killed themselves temporarily pulled the book ‘13 Reasons Why ‘, that has been made into a popular Netflix series, KGVO News reached out to Missoula School District One for their reaction.
Superintendent Mark Thane had no comment about the Colorado school’s situation, but did acknowledge that Montana’s problem with teen suicide has been growing.
“We’ve done a lot of suicide awareness and prevention over the last year and a half,” Thane said. “We’ve been working with our counselors and school psychologists on a program called ASSIST, which is Applied Suicide Intervention Skills training. Plus, we have partnered with the health department to get all of our staff in each building trained in a process called QPR, which stands for Question, Persuade, Respond. It’s asking staff to have awareness of suicide issues to make sure that they know how to respond if they perceive a student is contemplating suicide.”
Thane said his office is also working closely with the Montana State Department of Health and Human Services and it’s suicide prevention specialist Carl Rosten for ways for students to help their peers.
“We just went through a health enhancement review with Carl Rosten and we now have a curriculum called Signs of Suicide, which basically is putting a toolkit in the hands of students, so if they see peers that are struggling or they themselves have thoughts of suicide, they know how to access help.”
Thane acknowledged Montana’s problem with youth suicide.
“It’s well known that Montana has been in the top five nationally, and oftentimes in first place with suicide rates per capita,” he said. “We need some time to put the right skills in kids’ hands, and that as a community and a state that we find the appropriate resources to respond when we do see people in crisis.”