Last May, the Morgan Hill Unified School District received the Suicide Prevention Advocate Award and was recognized at the Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Services 2019 Suicide Prevention Conference. The district has taken huge steps to respond to students who may have suicidal ideations, or have tried to commit suicide. “It is vital that we provide this support for these students who may feel there is no other option,” says Coordinator of Student Services, Jessie Swift. “Every life is important and we want to send that message to our kids.”
This year, the district developed two key partnerships: Kognito, a health simulation company that utilizes technology, science and role-playing conversations to improve emotional and physical health; the HEARD Alliance, which is a community of healthcare professionals who promote emotional well-being and aim to prevent adolescent suicide. The goal of these alliances is to increase the amount of training and supports the district offers around suicide prevention as well as "post-vention" planning. Administrators and all 300+ certificated staff were trained via simulation this past October. By providing different interactive modules around mental health, Kognito allowed staff to explore scenarios, answer questions and provide support in an interactive format.
The principals then met with the HEARD Alliance to develop their mental health crisis teams. School sites were trained on processes and procedures for supporting students who may be suicidal. The Student Services department put together a manual that includes everything from a flow chart of how to support a student in crisis to a safety plan for a student returning from a 5150 hold.
“This success of these programs cannot truly be measured,” said Superintendent Steve Betando. “Although actual suicides and attempts are quantifiable, it is impossible to know how many potential suicides or paths to suicide have been averted due to the work our staff does through actions each day or because of program influence. The work of spreading awareness and sharing best practices is certain to have had a tremendous positive impact on our students' mental well-being. We are very proud of the steps our staff has taken toward suicide prevention.”
- student services
- Suicide Prevention