I-SS provides suicide prevention, mental health awareness training for teachers

Posted at 2:07 PM on Aug 10, 2019

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PHOTO: Superintendent Brady Johnson welcomes Iredell-Statesville Schools teachers to The Cove Church in Mooresville for suicide prevention and mental health awareness training.

Special to SVLfreenews.com

One thousand Iredell-Statesville Schools teachers packed The Cove Church in Mooresville earlier this week to increase their knowledge of suicide prevention and mental health awareness.

The training event was free for I-SS employees.

The educators were greeted by author and speaker Morris Morrison, who charged them with doing “whatever it takes” to reach the youth they work with.

Following a motivational address that included lots of laughter and some tears, educators across the district took part in a training called “Talk Saves Lives,” a program presented by Betsy Rhodes of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Over the course of the morning, educators learned about trouble signs, risk factors, and how to help those who struggle with suicidal ideation.

Superintendent Brady Johnson said the district is making greater efforts to target children atrisk.

“Months ago, our school district convened a Suicide Prevention Task Force. We have lost six I-SS students to suicide in the last two years,” Johnson said.

“We’re committed to understanding and discussing the mental health of our children. We begin the school year with an open mind and an open heart, and pledge to make sure that every child in our district has an advocate in the school building. Every child deserves a champion. Every child deserves to be heard and seen,” he added.

The Suicide Prevention Task Force, made up of educators, school counselors, parents and healthcare professionals, crafted a rollout that began this week. Moving forward this school year, students will take part in advocacy time each week at every school in the district. The goal includes assisting students as they work to “take care of yourself and others” and promotes the idea of #TalkItOut.

“Suicide prevention starts with every single one of us," American Foundation for Suicide Prevention volunteer Susan Tolle said.

“The Iredell-Statesville Schools took a tremendous step forward,” she continued, “by offering this education of warning signs and risk factors to 1,000 teachers and staff.”

Tolle said training like this will help save lives and bring hope to those impacted by suicide.

“We’re deeply grateful for this opportunity and hope other school systems will follow the I-SS lead,” Tolle said.

Iredell-Statesville Schools, which is the 17th largest district in North Carolina, has agreed to training every single I-SS employee through its partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“All 2,700 of our employees will attend this training. Whether you are a teacher, a bus driver or a school nutrition employee, we are all educators, and we are all charged with taking care of our students,” the superintendent said.

NEED HELP?

If you are not aware of where to start or who to talk to, consider attending the Central Piedmont Out of the Darkness Walk on October 5 in Statesville. Go to AFSP.org to register for free.

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