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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Suicide prevention being taught to parents, staff

On the evening of March 4, six parents filed into the library. This was not a parent-teacher meeting or a talk about next year courses. This was a workshop about suicide prevention. The entire teaching faculty also met during collaboration the next day and underwent the same training as the parents did the previous night.

With student suicides on the rise nationwide and more students resorting to self-harm, suicide prevention has gained tremendous attention in schools and in other institutions. SHS is one such school that is beginning to provide these services. 

The workshop advocates a procedure known as Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR). It is led by trained therapists from Project Safety Net (specialists affiliated with the city of Palo Alto) and KARA (grief counseling specialists).

“This is our second year with QPR, and it’s a great training,” principal Paul Robinson said.

Assistant principal Brian Safine described the workshop as being “like CPR, but for student suicide prevention.”

“The workshops feature information about signs of suicide and role-play activities where adults practice having conversations with potentially suicidal students,” Safine said.

With three workshops last year and two this year, the school hopes to have parents and teachers recognize the signs of students who are suicidal.

“We want to raise awareness about the warning signs of suicide and self-harm and educate our staff so that we can have many sets of eyes and ears looking and listening to our students,” Safine said.

The goal of the school staff is to help support the students, and they believe that organizing such workshops is one way they can make a difference.

“If we can learn how to better support students and prevent a potential suicide, we will be in better shape for having completed the training,” Safine said.

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