Dear School Administrators, Counselors and Teachers,
Thank you so much for participating in my informal survey of present suicide prevention programs/initiatives in the Radnor Township public, private and parochial schools and those in the bordering townships. Your input was invaluable. Below is a summary of the findings. Also included at the end of the summary is an ADDENDUM containing a list of Suicide Prevention resources, which are available to the public. These resources are utilized by one or more of the schools surveyed. They may prove helpful in the development of your future school-based suicide prevention programs.
Dr. Jane Marko Carabasi Member, Radnor Township Board of Health
SUMMARY OF THE INFORMAL SURVEY OF PRESENT SCHOOL-BASED SUICIDE PREVENTION PROGRAMS/INITIATIVES IN RADNOR TOWNSHIP PUBLIC, PRIVATE AND PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS
(Completed February, 2019)
There was a youth suicide in Radnor Township at the end of 2018. This prompted Police Superintendent Chris Flanagan and the Radnor Township Board of Commissioners, specifically John Nagle, to approach the Board of Health for information regarding suicide prevention programs in the Radnor Township School District (RTSD) and the local private and parochial schools. Jane Carabasi volunteered to survey these schools regarding their present suicide prevention programs/initiatives.
Twelve schools in Radnor Township were contacted to participate in an informal survey regarding their suicide prevention programs/initiatives. One school did not respond. Two of the schools actually are in townships that border Radnor Township. However, they were still included in the survey. A total of 11 schools participated in the survey. All schools surveyed were composed of either a middle or a high/upper school or both.
Findings and Recommendation:
To maintain the anonymity of each of the participating schools, only a general statement of findings is presented. All eleven schools have some measure of suicide prevention program/initiatives in place. There is great variation in the depth and breath of these programs and initiatives. The resources used by one or more of the participating schools are listed in the ADDENDUM below. This list may be useful in expanding existing programs/initiatives.
Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP): Founded by business leaders, law enforcement and judiciaries to seek alternatives to incarceration for men and women caught in the cycle of drug/alcohol addiction and crime. Mission is to teach individuals who have lost control of their lives due to addiction how to stop substance abuse and how to lead a crime free, productive and happy life. Presently known as New Directions. www.newdirectionsstockton.org/history.htm
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: A voluntary health organization that funds research, runs educational programs, advocates for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention, and supports survivors of suicide loss. https://afsp.org
Caron Foundation: A nonprofit organization that operates drug and alcohol residential treatment centers in Pennsylvania and other locations in the United States and abroad. https://www.caron.org/
Caron Foundation Student Assistance Program (SAP): Provides services and programs to students, professional and caregivers. Services are directed at alcohol, tobacco and drug education and prevention in schools, families, communities and other organizations. Services and programs are customized to meet the unique needs of a population. https://www.caron.org/our-programsleducation-alliance/student-assistance-program
Crisis Text Line: A global not-for-profit organization providing free crisis intervention via SMS messaging. Services available 24/7 throughout the United States and Canada. www.crisistextline.org
Delaware County Suicide Prevention and Awareness Task Force (DCSPATF): Functions to reduce the loss and suffering caused by suicide and suicidal behavior. Focus is on prevention, intervention and post-intervention. Offers information, education and support to lessen the influence of suicide and to decrease the stigma associated with suicide and suicide loss. https://delcosuicideprevention.org/
Don't Stall, just Call: An alcohol poisoning education program for university, college and high school students and their families. Utilizes an "educate, recognize, call and save a life" model. https://www.dontstalljustcall.org/
Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) Memorial Act: Provides grant funding to states, territories, tribes and colleges for suicide prevention efforts including education, training programs ("gatekeeper" training), screening, improved infrastructure for improved linkage to services, crisis hotlines and community partnerships. Data collection and evaluation of grant participants serve to improve prevention efforts. The Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Suicide Prevention Program
If You See Something, Say Something: US Department of Homeland Security campaign to encourage civilians to report suspicious behavior to local law enforcement, respecting the citizen's privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties. Emphasizes behavior rather than appearance of the possible perpetrator. https://www.dhs.gov/see-something-say-something
Minding Your Mind: Greater Philadelphia-based organization providing mental health programs to students, parents, teachers and administrators. Goal is to reduce the stigma and destructive behaviors often associated with mental health issues. Model is based on prevention through education as opposed to crisis-based response. https://mindingyourmind.org
National Association of School Psychologists (NASP): Offers online resources and publications for school safety and crisis, youth suicide prevention, etc. www.nasponline.org
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: National network of local crisis centers that provide 24/7, free and confidential emotional support to individuals in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer) Institute: Trains individuals in simple steps to save a life from suicide. The QPR Institute's mission is to save lives and reduce suicidal behaviors by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training. Quality education empowers all people, regardless of their background, to make a positive difference in the life of someone they know. Individuals are trained as "Gatekeepers" to recognize the warning signs of suicide, how to offer hope and how to get help to save a life. https://qprinstitute.com/about-qpr
SpeakUp!: A nonprofit organization helping teens develop supportive relationships with the adults in their lives. Partners with schools to create a culture of safe communication to discuss difficult topics in home and in school. It is a youth-driven/diverse student leadership experiential program generating meetings between students, parents and educators to engage in open and honest conversation about difficult topics. https://speakup.org/about-us/
The Trevor Project: American nonprofit organization which focuses on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. www.thetrevorproject.org