SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- (01/25/2018) Every two years, Springfield Public Schools conducts a survey asking students whether or not they've considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months. In 2016, 17.3% of those student answered 'yes,' which is a five percent increase compared to past years.
Suicide is a problem even in young people, that's why SPS has stepped up their suicide prevention efforts by encouraging staff to take part in Youth Mental Health First Aid Training.
"It's a national program designed for non-mental health professionals to learn more about what the red flags are in terms of dealing with young people and their mental health issues," said Rhonda Mammen the Director of Counseling Services with SPS.
So far, almost 370 of the district's employees have taken part in the program, and the district is already seeing the benefits.
"We've had a lot of teachers coming to the school counselors, giving them information about what they're seeing in students which allows them to follow up with the student and parent to provide support services," said Mammen.
However, in addition to the training and curriculum that has already been implemented, the district is now announcing that counselors will be tracking the number of reports from students who say they are contemplating suicide.
"We really want to identify whether these programs are creating an interest for people that were able to impact students in a way to help them get to resources more quickly," said Mammen.
The new procedure will help the schools identify how well their resources are benefiting their students as they continue to increase their suicide intervention efforts.
SPS also said the resources and training that's currently in place has already helped over 400 students access counselors. This new tracking procedure will help to ensure that these resources continue to benefit students.