Midstate school district introduces a comprehensive program to identify signs of suicide

Local

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — In Pennsylvania suicide is the second leading cause of death in children and teens.

A Midstate school district is prioritizing mental health and making sure students have the skills to identify the warning signs of suicide.

“We know that the pandemic has been a stressor not just on adults but on our students,” Jessica Petronis said.

Get daily news, weather, and breaking news alerts straight to your inbox! Sign up for the abc27 newsletters here

Cumberland Valley Psychologist Jessica Petronis says 19% of high schoolers have thought about taking their own life. She says warnings signs and behaviors include changes in mood, hygiene, and disinterest.

“So we’re really teaching kids, you know to recognize those signs within themselves and their friends, and when you see those go to an adult and let them know what’s going on,” Petronis said.

The Signs of Suicide program are offered at secondary schools in the Cumberland Valley school district.

Educators also say when it comes to the S.O.S program the training is crucial.

“It’s having that community approach to it with all adults with the understanding the same vocabulary with the students as well I think provides a comprehensive support system,” Director of professional & Student Services Doris Hagemann said.

Classroom educational videos, resources, and discussions help guide students to prevent suicide.

The district introduced the S.O.S program to students earlier this month and say over two hundred students have reached out to an adult for help.

“Sometimes the classroom teacher is the single most consistent adult in a child’s life and so it’s really important that they have tools to respond,” Doris Hagemann said.

The district also encourages students to speak up and help their peers if they see any suspicious behaviors.

“And I think one of the beautiful things that came out of this, students heard us, they referred themselves and, in some cases, their friends referred them and so just having that engagement and of course parents were contacted,” Doris Hagemann said.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Don't Miss