HEALTH

Schools on the front lines of suicide prevention

Sep 9, 2019, 9:01 AM

SALT LAKE CITY — September is suicide prevention month and as part of our coverage of this public health crisis, we are looking at the different ways schools are helping watch out for our youth.

Teachers, counselors and staff are on the front lines in these efforts.

“The best tool educators are armed with, is their relationship with their students,” said Ben Belnap, the associate superintendent for student wellness for the Park City School District. He says everyone remembers the teacher who really knows them and took the time to connect with them.

Hopefully, that teacher is the one you could talk to for help.

“We don’t create this relationship by how we respond when a student tells us something they are distressed about or when they are showing warning signs. That relationship is created well in advance of that by the way we interact with them and seek them out to talk about things related and not related to education,” said Belnap.

He says they use student Hope Squads, and QPR – question, persuade and refer, when checking in on how students are doing with any long-term depression or anxiety or short term crisis that could lead to suicide ideation.

In the Murray City School District, prevention specialist Carol Anderson says they know fellow students are key.

“Educating students about the signs of mental health distress in their peers, because we know there is that age when students relay on their peers instead of adults,” she said. “That includes making sure those peers understand signs of depression and letting them know it’s ok to reach out and ask a friend if they are at risk of hurting themselves, or that student themselves an go to a caring adult.”

Anderson said MCSD has many community partners they work with for training and advocacy. They urge parents in any district to go to seminars at school about suicide and mental health.

“It is a public health problem, and we need to look at it as a whole community. Yes educators and our schools can play a role, our community partners can play a role, but what can EVERYBODY do?” she said.

Belnap says restorative practices in PCSD are going a long way beyond just preventative measures. And Anderson says schools also focus on coping skills, mindfulness and problem-solving skills. These are things teens can take with them into adulthood.

 

Advocates urge anyone who is struggling or anyone with a loved one who may be at risk of suicide to use the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at any time, by calling 1-800-273-Talk.

 

Read more of KSL Newsradio’s coverage of “Healing Utah’s Teenagers” here.

KSL’s combined coverage “Reasons to Hope” is found here.

And resources for help around Utah are here.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Health

Utah air quality is going down and it could get worse...

Josuee Sanchez

Utah air quality is deteriorating and could get worse

Utah is lacking of good air quality due to wildfires but it is mostly because of the hot weather.

1 day ago

Vehicles pass by a sign showing solidarity amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Murray on Sunday, April 12...

Heather Peterson

Youth mental health in Utah improving, post-pandemic

The latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 37% of respondents reported feeling so sad or hopeless that they changed their usual activities.

3 days ago

A husband and wife's heartfelt effort to raise funds for a friend battling cancer has blossomed int...

Eric Cabrera

Ink Against Cancer: Fundraising for a good cause

A husband and wife's heartfelt effort to raise funds for a friend battling cancer has blossomed into a foundation, Ink Against Cancer.

7 days ago

(Canva)...

Michelle Lee

Tips for booking your next vacation

Let’s Get Moving Host Maria Shilaos spoke with Claire Newell, Founder of Travel Best Bets, to learn her tips on booking a great vacation.

8 days ago

MaryAnn Gerber puts sunscreen on her daughter at their home in Layton in June of 2023. Utah's rate ...

Tammy Kikuchi and Simone Seikaly

Here’s why Utah has the highest rate of melanoma in the nation

In a recent 4-year period, Utah rate of skin cancer diagnoses was nearly double the national average.

12 days ago

Two chickens are pictured. Salmonella outbreak linked to backyard poultry like chicken...

Josuee Sanchez

Salmonella cases in Utah linked to backyard poultry

We are starting to see some salmonella cases in Utah, linked to backyard chickens. An Epidemiologist with the Utah Department shares insight.

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

A young woman smiles while reading the menu at a lakeside restaurant, enjoying the panoramic view o...

Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau

The best restaurants to try in Bear Lake

Save this guide to the best restaurants in Bear Lake when you need to find a place to dine during your next visit.

Female leg stepping on weigh scales. Healthy lifestyle, food and sport concept....

Health Utah

Sustainable weight loss: the science-backed way to achieve it

Learn more about Debbie's weight loss journey with Health Utah, who have a unique weight loss philosophy for success.

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

Schools on the front lines of suicide prevention