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 A hand holds up a teal and purple ribbon for suicide preventionPueblo School District 60 is committed to creating awareness around suicide prevention in an effort to reach those who may be having thoughts of self harm.

The goal of suicide prevention is to reduce factors that increase suicide risk and increase those factors that promote resilience in times of distress and crisis.  

Recognizing that schools are a key setting for suicide prevention, teachers, mental health providers, and all other school personnel who interact with students can play an important role in keeping them safe and in identifying behaviors that indicate a potential for self harm.

In our effort to support and promote suicide awareness, District personnel take part in monthly meetings of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Pueblo County. Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) training – which helps participants recognize  the warning signs of suicidal thinking and behavior – was offered last year to school counselors.

In 2021-22, Health Solutions provided professional development to the counselors, with another professional development session slated for February 17. Additionally, Health Solutions and State of Grace have provided episodic support to schools on a case-by-case basis.  For example, Health Solutions conducted a suicide awareness and responsive class at Central High School within the first quarter of 2023.

The District is currently in the second year of a partnership with A New Leaf Therapy to offer grief counselors to individuals who have experienced loss.  While these therapy sessions aren’t suicide prevention specific, they are focused on helping grieving students build resiliency.  

Another partnership, with Ryan Yanke, a local artist and therapist, is seeing art therapy offered to students who are struggling with anger management, responsible decision making, and loss.  While these therapy sessions aren’t suicide prevention specific, they are focused on helping grieving students build resiliency and to foster a positive connection with an adult.  

Sources of Strength, designed to prevent adverse outcomes by increasing well-being, help-seeking, resiliency, healthy coping, and belonging, is in all middle and high schools. We also participated in the state’s Safe 2 Tell program, which allows for personal or bystander anonymous reporting.  In some situations, the reports are around self-harm and suicidal tendencies.  We coordinate our responses on S2T reports with law enforcement, social agencies and our school and district staff, as appropriate.  

If there are safety concerns surrounding a student, immediate welfare checks can be requested any time of day or night, in partnership with the Pueblo Police department.

District-wide, the District Crisis Response Team supplies District counselors, school psychologists as well as community agency counselors  to support students in times of crisis. This team has established protocols for supporting post-vention support. 

In November, our Executive Director of Student Support Services attended CDE’s 2022 Youth Suicide Prevention Symposium in Denver, gaining valuable knowledge which is being applied throughout the school network. Annually, District administrators, school counselors and school psychologists undergo training  on the Threat Assessment Process. 

For staff, Employee Assistance Program affords counseling service as needed.

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