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Rockwood Encourages Community to Participate in Suicide Prevention Training

 Two students share a consoling hugSeptember is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and the Rockwood School District is committed to supporting our students, staff members, families and community leaders as we work together for the mental and social-emotional health of our community.

Rockwood is encouraging its staff members, students and parents to participate in an upcoming virtual training called “Suicide Prevention for School-Age Youth,” sponsored by the St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund. The full-day event will be held on Friday, Sept. 10, and will feature guest speaker Dr. Scott Poland, an expert on youth suicide, self-injury, school violence, school safety, threat assessment and school crisis.

Poland will give two presentations during the event, a morning presentation focusing on general school personnel and an afternoon session that will discuss clinical prevention and intervention protocols. Individual breakout sessions on related subjects will be presented by local experts and will follow both of Poland’s presentations. Rockwood students will also be presenting as part of the event.

Dr. Terry Harris, Rockwood’s executive director of student services, said the district is continually seeking new ways to engage with adults and students in the community on how to watch for signs of suicide.

These efforts include partnerships with community organizations such as the CHADS Coalition for Mental Health and Alive & Well Communities, as well as training opportunities such as “Mental Health First Aid for Students” and the Rockwood Youth Connection, a new group of Rockwood students who aim to provide a welcoming environment for district students to discuss mental health and substance use issues in tandem with Rockwood Community Partners in Prevention.

“We have the resources. Our job and goal is to take away that stigma around suicide, depression and anxiety, normalize that these feelings are real and that there is support for individuals experiencing them,” Harris said. “It’s going to take all of us. Collectively, we’re responsible for making sure that all of our children are well.” 

Those interested can register for the Sept. 10 training at this link.