Liberty Bell High School is offering a suicide prevention training open to parents and community members next Tuesday (Feb. 25), from 6-7:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria. Liberty Bell has partnered with Forefront Suicide Prevention, a program offered through the University of Washington, to run the Forefront in the Schools initiative.
Suicide is a serious issue facing high-schoolers, being the second-leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24 in Washington state, according to the Washington Department of Health. Forefront in the Schools was created to provide schools with a guide for building a comprehensive process of creating policy and curriculum to support student mental health services and suicide prevention efforts.
The training on Tuesday will focus on how to identify individuals who may be having thoughts of suicide, and give instruction on how to offer support and provide help.
“Having conversations about suicide can be so intimidating and this training provided me with resources to use to start and engage in these hard conversations. It was less about facts, figure, and philosophy, and more about the practice of talking about suicide and developing the comfort level to do so,” said Genny Rice, Liberty Bell’s biology teacher, who attended a similar training for staff in November.
The partnership between Liberty Bell and Forefront in the Schools will last for three years, with a third training session offered to Liberty Bell students scheduled for this spring.
“Suicide rates for 15-19 year-olds are at their highest since 2000,” said Erika Spellman, Liberty Bell’s counselor. “At Liberty Bell, we want to prevent, educate, and bring awareness to our school community and the Methow community at large. We want to provide our students, staff and parents with the proper tools to be able to join us in our efforts to prevent suicide.”
District parents and community members who interact with teens are encouraged to attend. Child care and snacks will also be provided.