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School hosts teacher, administration suicide prevention training

How teachers should approach student mental health

As+leader+of+the+student+mental+health+training%2C+school+psychologist%2C+Jim+Landers+instructs+teachers+on+what+signs+to+look+to+for+and+how+to+react.
As leader of the student mental health training, school psychologist, Jim Landers instructs teachers on what signs to look to for and how to react.

As leader of the student mental health training, school psychologist, Jim Landers instructs teachers on what signs to look to for and how to react.

Natalie Kerr

Natalie Kerr

As leader of the student mental health training, school psychologist, Jim Landers instructs teachers on what signs to look to for and how to react.

Natalie Kerr, Copy Editor

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 The school hosted a mandatory mental health training for all faculty that had particular focus on suicide. The training and its topics were mandated by the county, after being taken to state legislation and approved earlier this year, although the movement for an initiative like this has been in the works for the past several years. 

The meeting was aptly timed, conducted on Monday, Sept. 25, as NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and other organizations concerning mental health are devoting the first week of October to raising awareness of mental illness. * 

The event was led by James Landers, school psychologist, and Leland Schardt, school social worker, who already held a mental health overview presentation during 2017-2018 preplanning. Monday’s meeting featured a presentation made by the student services department for middle and high school teachers and surrounded topics concerning overall mental health and, particularly, suicide prevention. 

“Everyone has a role [in prevention],” Shardt said.  

She explained that the training would give teachers the tools and information to handle the potential threat of suicidal behavior in a student.  

Not only are they taking into account the need for a course of action in the case of suicidal ideation, but promoting that all indicators of poor mental health be considered seriously. 

“I’ve never seen more mental health issues than what I see today,” AP Psychology teacher Michael Boza said, after attending the training. “I think [today’s students] are under a special kind of stress that really takes a toll, so I don’t mind getting together with my colleagues and discussing [suicide prevention] because it is so important.”  

The training covered suicide prevention, intervention, and post-vention, in other words, how to identify emergency situations in the classroom, interference of possible suicide and what to do in the case of a successful suicide.   

“They [teachers] are the frontline,” Shardt said. “They are going to be the first to notice a change in student’ behavior, appearance, weight, peer group.”  

Teachers were asked to contemplate various underlying stressors that lead to poor mental health and suicide, offering responses such as bullying, self-harm and overextension.  

“The most common underlying feature in students at risk for suicide is anxiety,” Landers said. 

Florida is above average in rates of suicide, with 17 percent of students at some point seriously considering suicide. Statistically, that amounts to around 400 of our students. 

Landers also hosted a second presentation, created by the student services department on Thursday Sept. 28 to all students, as well as provided an in-class survey concerning mental health. 

To participate in NAMI’s campaign, visit their website http://WWW.NAMI.org/miaw 

 

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