Letters: PPS policies focus on suicide prevention
Thank you for raising awareness about the need for suicide prevention programs in schools ("Oregon Schools Failing on Suicide Prevention"). Suicide is the second leading cause of death in Oregon for youth ages 10 to 24, and we have one of the highest rates of youth suicide in the country.
Like many of us in the social work field, I am a suicide survivor and lost an immediate family member to suicide, so this issue is very close to my heart.
However, I did not appreciate that there was no coverage in your article of the amazing work Portland Public Schools and many metro-area social workers are doing in schools on this issue.
Like many of my school social work colleagues, I have been teaching a comprehensive suicide prevention program in the Gresham-Barlow School District and now in Portland Public Schools for almost 20 years.
We use an evidence-based program called Signs of Suicide out of the Boston area that includes training parents and teachers, as well as every ninth grade student, in health classes.
Our program is run in collaboration with our school-based therapist from Multnomah County mental health as well as health teachers and school counselors.
Portland Public Schools has extensive suicide prevention policies and procedures in place to support students and families. With the passage of the Student Success Act, hopefully, we will see an increase in school social workers in Oregon continuing to advance this important work and save students' lives.
I welcome more legislation, advocacy and awareness to support our community in preventing youth suicide.
Cleveland High School social worker
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