Schools, youth services, suicide prevention services hosts monthly webinars

Three agencies in Tulare county are hosting a monthly suicide awareness training webinar for individuals who work with children

TULARE COUNTY – Suicide awareness in schools became law in California for junior high and high school starting in 2016  and then expanded to kindergarten in 2019. Several agencies in Tulare county are hosting a suicide awareness training webinar once a month on suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.

The County of Tulare is working with Tulare County Suicide Prevention Task Force (SPTF), Visalia Unified School Ditrict and Visalia Youth Services to host a Youth Suicide Awareness Training webinar series next Tuesday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The focus of these webinars has been on suicide prevention, intervention and postvention. Each webinar is open to school administrators, teachers, nurses, school staff,  social workers, parents, community providers and anyone who works with children. Each webinar is also streamed on Facebook Live to allow for further outreach in the community. Another webinar is scheduled for May 24 beginning at 10 a.m.

Assembly Bill 2246, passed in 2016, requires educational agencies who have students seventh grade up to seniors in high school to adopt a policy on pupil suicide prevention. This policy would specifically address the needs of high risk groups and would impose a state-mandated program. The mandate would put additional weight on the local educational agencies. According to the California legislative Information website, the bill began in the 2017-18 school year and required the educational departments to “develop and maintain a model policy to serve as a guide for local educational agencies.” 

In 2019, AB 1767 was signed into law and broadened the requirement of addressing suicide prevention in school for Kindergarten to sixth grade. This was implemented for the 2020-21 school year and would contain age appropriate information while being aware of the sensitivities of young children. This bill also required the policy be written to include those who are Medi-Cal beneficiaries, to ensure the proper coordination and consultation with county mental health plans. The bill also required the policy to address the training done by local educational agencies on suicide prevention be taught to teachers of all grades.

According to their website, the Tulare County Suicide Prevention Task Force functions as a multidisciplinary collaborative organization who combines representatives from government, education, community-based service providers and community members to work together to provide training, activities and education. The organization is working to increase awareness of the different signs and symptoms of suicide risk, prevention and early intervention. Their vision is to create a county without suicide. They work toward this goal by implementing a full range of strategies to all at-risk residents with target programs for “population-specific needs.”

The Visalia Unified School District’s website provides information on ways to talk to children about suicide as well as several phone numbers for different local and national resources. The website gives examples of warning signs and what to do about them. The webpage also advises parents to communicate with the school and staff as well as friends and family to get help.

Visalia Youth Services is an outpatient children’s mental health services program. According to their website, they provide a comprehensive array of mental health services for children, adolescents and their families. These services include therapy, rehabilitation counseling and medication services. Visalia Youth Services is committed to helping Visalia’s children by reducing stigma and increasing mental health awareness. They work with local agencies to get the word out and help youth.

Registration for next week’s seminar visit https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TP0TAGEFTfOo5yJSl3EXiQ 

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