Students often turn to adults they feel closest to in a time of crisis, which is why teacher training in suicide prevention is being undertaken in some school districts.
With one of the highest suicide rates in the nation, York County schools are going beyond the statewide mandate for suicide prevention training in schools. Teachers are being trained to recognize warning signs, and the county participates in the Aevidum program, a student run organization which creates a positive social climate in schools. Mandated training is four hours for teachers in grades six through twelve, but some schools are opening that up to all teachers.
“Both students and adults will turn to people that they feel closest to … and if they turn to someone who doesn’t understand or doesn’t know the warning signs, it’s going to go right over their heads and they may lose someone,” said Cindy Richards, chairwoman of the York County Suicide Prevention Coalition. “If you know the warning signs, you may not understand their situation, but you can see these signs and you may be able to save someone’s life — now you can’t save everyone, but you’ll be able to do everything in your power to help them.”