Training in Coupeville schools puts suicide prevention in the Forefront

Parents and caregivers can sign up for upcoming classes for training to help prevent suicide.

Coupeville parents and caregivers for children in middle school and high school have the opportunity to sign up for invaluable training to help prevent suicide.

All three school districts on Whidbey utilize suicide prevention training developed by Forefront Suicide Prevention, a University of Washington program.

Coupeville School District Counselor Cheyenne Beck said the Forefront program provides resources for the school district to develop a suicide comprehensive plan, which includes strategies for prevention, what to do if suicide is threatened and then the healing process in the event that it does happen.

She and fellow counselor Anthony Cruz are leading the online training for Coupeville, and parents can RSVP for the upcoming events by contacting the school district.

Trainings are scheduled for 7-8:30 p.m. Jan. 26 and 6-7:30 p.m. Feb. 4.

This is the second year training has been available to Coupeville parents who have children enrolled in the school district.

They are instructed to look for signs a young person is contemplating suicide, such as changes in action, emotion or behavior.

They are taught the meaning of empathy versus sympathy, and how to ask about suicide and how to address the answers to that question.

Next year, the plan is to involve students who will be peer educators about suicide prevention at the middle and high school levels.

Charlene Ray, the Forefront program liaison for all three school districts, said this is the fourth year both South Whidbey and Oak Harbor school districts are participating in the program.

“I think that it’s been very challenging for youth,” she said of the pandemic. “We don’t have statistics yet in the state for suicide attempts, but we expect there will be an increase.”

Upcoming suicide prevention trainings for South Whidbey and Oak Harbor parents are available, and can be accessed by contacting the respective school districts.

Conor Laffey, spokesperson for the Oak Harbor Public Schools, said if parents are interested in signing up, they should contact Dean of Students Linda Otruba at lotruba@ohsd.net.

For more information, visit intheforefront.org

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