Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention
Posted on 11/27/2017

Dear Mason City Schools Families,

It is with a heavy heart that we share news that has become too common in our community - a creative, accomplished, bright, kind MHS junior died by suicide last weekend. We know the statistics - that suicide is now the second leading cause of death for young people between 10 to 24. One suicide is too many, and we continue to search for ways to prevent teen suicide in Mason.

Taking Action

Last year, we began offering Signs of Suicide training for students as part of our Health Curriculum in 8th and 9th grade. We also offered QPR suicide prevention training for parents.

This year, we've expanded the Signs of Suicide training at the high school for students who may have already taken Health, and already had sessions planned for 11/27 and 12/4 for students who have Study Hall and 12/6 and 12/13 for students who can take after school. If your high school child has not learned the warning signs of suicide, please fill out the  RSVP form with your student's name and the presentation your child will attend and the consent form.  In order to participate students must bring a consent form to the first session. Since advertising these sessions last week, we have had 13 students signed up. Unfortunately, sessions with fewer than 5 RSVP's will be canceled.

In addition, we have another QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training set for 12/5 from 7-8:30pm for all Mason City Schools families. If you are interested in taking part in that, you can RSVP here.

Next Steps

Our district’s administrative leadership team has been diving into a promising evidence-based, peer-to-peer program out of Utah. Superintendent Dr. Gail Kist-Kline serves on the Grant Us Hope Board, a local nonprofit committed to preventing teen suicide in Greater Cincinnati and we had the head researcher in Mason on November 16. We expect to launch a Hope Squad at Mason High School - peer-to-peer suicide prevention training that is rooted in research and will have a strong partnership with the Greater Cincinnati mental health community, including Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Learn more about Utah's Hope Squad movement, and why we are encouraged about this evidence-based approach that can strengthen our entire community.

What to Do in a Crisis

It is important to take any threat or talk about suicide seriously. Start by telling the person that you are concerned. Don’t be afraid to ask whether she or he is considering suicide or has a plan or method in mind. Resist the temptation to argue the person out of suicide by saying, “You have so much to live for” or “Your suicide will hurt your family and friends.” Instead, seek professional help. In an acute crisis:

• Call 911.

• Do not leave the person alone.

• If safe to do so, remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs, or sharp objects that could be used.

• Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

• Take the person to an emergency room.

We know that addressing the mental health issues that face our youth is complex and will take all of us: legislators, community leaders, health professionals, students, staff, parents, and neighbors.  At Mason City Schools we have mental health therapists available at all of our schools so if your child should be in need of services at any time, please contact one of our guidance counselors to assist you and your child in getting support.  

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