Rapid City, SD
It doesn't matter if a student is in elementary school, middle school or high school, children of all ages can have suicidal thoughts.
The Rapid City Areas School District has responded to more than 75 reports of students who've thought about suicide or even attempted to hurt themselves, and that's just since the beginning of the school year. 18 of the referrals involved students in elementary school. These numbers are higher than past years, so the school district is increasing its efforts to raise awareness and keep kids safe.
In September, Rapid City Area Schools brought the community together to talk about suicide.
"They want to help their kids. They want to help their kids' friends but just don't know how to do it, and I think by bringing a panel of experts together that can answer questions and give advice, is really reassuring to families," Katy Urban, RCAS Community Relations Manager, said.
Since that meeting, the district has been looking for new tools to help students. Tuesday night, they'll meet again.
"We are working with two consultants that are experts in youth suicide and they're going to be doing some training for our staff members in the coming months," Urban said.
The district wants to be proactive. Changes are already in the works.
"We make sure that we at the administration building are seeing every report of suicide or attempt, to make sure we at the schools can help make sure there are services in place for students when they come back to school," Urban said.
Panelist Corey Harouff says it's a conversation the district needs to have.
"I want us to have an honest and real conversation about teen suicide," Corey Harouff with Rapid City Young Life said. "We've got to get this stuff into the light; we need to shine a spotlight on it."
"It starts this conversation and makes it okay to talk about it," Urban said.
That conversation starts Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. MST at the Western Dakota Tech Events Center. Urban says that there are plans for a third meeting but a date has not been set yet.
If you need help, find suicide prevention resources online:
Front Porch Coalition
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