SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KION) The California Department of Education is launching a free suicide prevention training program with help of the San Diego County Office of Education, according to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.
The program will be available to middle and high school students and staff around the state.
“The COVID-19 pandemic not only disrupted the academic lives of our students and families, but it may have contributed to emotional and mental health challenges that some of our students struggle with,” said Thurmond. “It is important that students know that they have someone to turn to within their school community when they are feeling overwhelmed. Providing this specialized training to school staff and peers can not only be utilized to support students in crisis during the critical time we are in now, but any time a student is feeling despondent, stressful, and alone.”
The program is called LivingWorks Start, and Thurmond says it is in alignment with the CDE's Model Youth Suicide Prevention Policy. It will be rolled out in two phases. School staff will be trained first, and students will be trained in the second phase. Thurmond said the training will help participants be equipped to help students experiencing thoughts of suicide through recognizing when someone is experiencing them, intervention strategies and connections to services.
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24.
The program's funding, totaling $1.7 million, was secured by Assemblymember Marc Berman and included in AB 1808.