South Whittier School District participated in National Suicide Prevention Awareness week that took place September 8th through the 14th and has brought awareness to teachers, students, and families throughout the whole month of September.
The awareness week began with presentations made by the district’s Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Cynthia Rubio-Casebere. Casebere gave presentations to all teachers at every school and provided them with helpful resources that are available.
"In developing South Whittier School District's Wellness Services Program our goal is to promote social/emotional wellness and mental health awareness to our students, families and staff,” Casebere shared.
“I thought it was really important to support suicide prevention because messaging has an effect on suicidal thinking and behavior and knowing how to start a conversation and where to turn to for help can give all of us the power to make a difference, essentially the power to save a life. The key to preventing suicide is to reduce the risk and increasing resiliency. We can not do this if we do not bring awareness or talk about the topic. Everyone has a role to play."
Mrs. Casebere shared that although warning signs are complex there are certain behaviors that teachers could look out for. She also shared that many people who need support often do not like to talk about it but research has shown when someone asks in a caring way how they’re doing, that alone can help them experience relief.
Teachers were able to review warning signs that youth and teens may experience. Though the list may help identify warning signals, it was explained that symptoms are extremely complex and may vary in each individual.
Aside from teacher presentations, Casebere also worked with Graves Middle School Counselors to promote awareness to GMS students. Every student at Graves received a welcome kit and attended a presentation put on by Counselors. This year they included a helpful resource card to each welcome kit. During the presentations counselors presented the information on the card, essentially letting them know that being a teenager is hard, but there is hope and helpful resources that are available to them.
Lastly, Pacific Clinics who is a mental health agency that works with the district has offered to put together a Suicide Prevention Awareness Presentation for parents. This presentation is currently in the process of being developed and scheduled.