Wayne County Schools educate students on suicide awareness

wayne county suicide prevention

115 Columbia Suicide Rating Scales were completed on students who were referred to the Counseling Department this past school year. As a result of the rating scale evaluations, 31 students were hospitalized for further evaluation. Over 150 students were referred to outside counseling services for ongoing treatment. 

As we near the end of September, Wayne County High School Crisis Counselor, JoAnne Roach, and School Psychologist, Kori LeFree, created a way for students to get involved and learn more about Suicide Prevention month. 

With the recent pandemic, mental health conditions continue to rise in this unprecedented time. They saw this as the perfect opportunity to spread suicide awareness and prevention at Wayne County High School as well as both Wayne County middle schools. 

Wayne County High School holds ‘Buzz Block’ for students

On Friday, September 11th, Wayne County High School had a ‘Buzz Block’. It featured the #BeThe1To campaign that we’ve been talking about in our previous articles this month. The #BeThe1To is a national campaign. It helps spread the word about actions we can all take to prevent suicide and be more aware of harmful behavior.

JoAnne Roach states, “We are aware this is a very sensitive subject that often times everyone is not comfortable talking about. To ease the process, we created a brief statement for each teacher to read and provided them with some simple uplifting activities for the students to complete.”  She also noted that the counselors were available throughout the event if the teacher noticed a student becoming upset or needs to speak with someone privately. 

WCHS students create suicide awareness videos

Another area that Mrs. Roach and Mrs. LeFree wanted to focus on were prevention efforts. Last year, high school students created videos that helped bring awareness to suicide. One video shows a friend reaching out to someone who is struggling. As the troubled teenager contemplates taking his life, his phone buzzes with his friend asking him how he is doing. The video states, “Everybody needs somebody to be there for them. You could be that someone.” To watch this video and more, scroll down to the bottom of the article.

Lastly, the counselors wanted people trained about this topic. This is important because suicide takes the lives of many each and every year. In order to do that, Wayne County purchased a research based curriculums called Signs of Suicide to implement at each school. They will first train the staff and then offer virtual training to parents. The main takeaways from this curriculum are to acknowledge and act accordingly if you see signs of suicide. By being aware of the signs, you can provide resources and get students help. All 8th and 10th graders in Wayne County will go through an assessment and be discussing this topic in depth with counselors and psychologists.   

If you have any questions about the Buzz Block or the Signs of Suicide curriculum, you can contact Mrs. JoAnne Roach at the high school. Her number is (912) 427-1088 ext. 829. 

Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative sponsored this article. Its partnership with the Wayne County Board of Education allows us to bring awareness to the needs of the community.  If you would like to become a part of the Collaborative, please contact Lana Wright at 912-256-2150. You can also contact Lana for more information regarding our Mental Health Task Force.

View videos from the High School students below: