of the Sentinel Konah
Early this year members of the community and staff gathered in the MJT to discuss the new suicide prevention program added to the the mental health unit at Sentinel.
The mental health unit, usually taught to freshmen and sophomores for two weeks out of the year, has an added suicide discussion and screening taught for 90 minutes.
The program will teach students to ACT: acknowledge, care, and tell if someone is in need of help. At the meeting, social worker Sarah Kragelund said, “[We] ask students to fill out a questionnaire…[there are] 7 screening questions. The questions will screen for symptoms of suicide and look for indicators.”
Nothing will be dropped from the original curriculum taught at Sentinel, only the screening and discussion will be added.
The program will also help identify students in need of help by asking them directly if they are or they know someone who is feeling suicidal, or has had suicidal thoughts in the past month. This is to help the counselors to immediately get into contact with said student.
Students will be watching videos on scenarios to help identify a student or individual in need.
According to the CDC, suicide in the U.S is the second leading cause of death in people ages 10-24 and Montana is ranked second in the United States behind Alaska for the most suicides.
Health Enhancement teacher Amy Mack said, “SOS is a valuable addition because it provides the tools to help a suicidal person. Students need to remember the acronym ACT. The three steps are to acknowledge how they are feeling, to show them that you cre and to tell a trusted adult. It is first aid for a person’s mental health.”
Units will be taught this spring in the HPE classes.