Implementing any protocol requires adequate supervision and licensure of staff. Simply being exposed to a document does not mean someone is adequately trained to facilitate the implementation of a suicide protocol.
Once your school has completed training with staff on how to identify a child who may be struggling, you may be wondering what to do next. Most schools determine that the next step is to develop some formal processes or protocols for how the building will effectively and efficiently respond to a concern for a child’s mental wellness. Some common questions that arise include:
- Once we identify a child might be struggling, who do we send them to?
- What if our school doesn’t have a Comprehensive School and Community Treatment (CSCT) or other mental health professional in the building?
- What if our community doesn’t have professional mental health services?
- Who in our building is trained and ready to assess the suicidal risk of a child?
- What if a child is in need of follow-up support?
- Who has the conversation with parents?
These questions are important for schools to answer to feel confident they are doing the best they can to support children who may be suicidal. There are several support services in the state that are ready to help.
- The BITTERROOT VALLEY EDUCATION COOPERATIVE has created a process and protocol for their schools to answer all of these questions. Educators in their district know the process to follow when they are concerned about a child’s mental health. Please visit their WEBSITE to see what they have done, or contact Steve Zieglowsky, School Behavioral Health Specialist at 406.777.2494 ext. 100 ZIEGLOWSKYS@BVEC-MT.ORG
- OVERVIEW OF A SUICIDE EMERGENCY OPERATIONS PLAN ANNEX: This document includes items for a school to consider when creating a comprehensive Emergency Operations Plan with a specific hazard annex on suicide. Included in this document are tips for schools to address in the planning phases including: 1) Prevention 2) Protection 3) Mitigation 4) Response and 5) Recovery.
- COPING WITH THE SUDDEN DEATH OF A STUDENT: This document was created by the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency in Bettendorf Iowa and includes a step by step guide for administrators in dealing with the Response and Recovery stages of a student death.
- Peace Protocol: Kurt Michael, Ph.D. and Licensed Psychologist and Professor of Psychology at Appalachian State University has worked with schools in Montana to create a suicide protocol called the Peace Protocol. Click HERE to view the protocol and click HERE to read the most recent publication about the Peace Protocol and its impact in rural communities.
- MONTANA SCHOOL-BASED CRISIS INTERVENTION PROJECT