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Douglas ESD prepares for Suicide Prevention and Wellness Program
Sept. 8, 2020 – The Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Department of Education, Lines for Life and local suicide prevention champions are collaborating to launch a statewide Suicide Prevention and Wellness Program for school districts.
Douglas Education Service District will serve as the hosting agency for Southwest Oregon. Douglas ESD will equip a Lines for Life coordinator with an office and resources. The coordinator will be cross-trained in behavioral safety assessments, suicide prevention, equity and racial diversity, along with social emotional learning. Other coordinators will be in Willamette Valley, Central and Eastern Oregon.
“We are extremely excited about this opportunity. This collaboration among agencies and regions will help to enhance the mental health and behavioral supports that are needed now more than ever with Covid-19,” says Alison Hinson Douglas ESD director of behavioral health services. “Depression, suicide and behavioral health concerns among students are at the forefront of concerns for our schools and families. This program will be a major asset toward helping schools intervene on behalf of students’ well-being.”
The Suicide Prevention and Wellness Program is designed to support school districts in implementing and sustaining solid, evidence-based and racial equity-centered suicide prevention policies and plans. Mini grants and additional training opportunities are available.
The robust programming is a product of Oregon Legislature Adi’s Act (Senate Bill 52) and the Student Success Act (Section 36), both passed in 2019. As a result, each school district in Oregon is required to have a suicide prevention, intervention and postvention response policy and plan, and an established statewide School Safety and Prevention System.
"This is going to save lives," said Dwight Holton, executive director of Lines for Life. "It’s bringing together schools, public health, and, most importantly, community to do the work Adi’s Act envisioned – connecting young people to help, equipping folks to respond to crisis, empowering young people to help each other. This work is going to build hope every day."
Additionally, Douglas ESD received a $146,000 grant from ODE that will complement and expand the Suicide Prevention and Wellness Program. The grant augmented the opportunity to create a new position, Safe Schools Prevention Specialist, which is expected to be filled soon. The focus of this position is to train districts in six southern Oregon counties on performing risk assessments and provide regional support for preventing acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying including cyberbullying. The hope is to use the funding to establish supports that are accessible to historically, traditionally and currently underserved and marginalized students and youth.
Oregon Department of Education is responsible for coordinating implementation of the legislation, and OHA and Lines for Life work to support the statewide School Safety and Prevention System. Douglas ESD is grateful to play a part in this critical program.
For information about Lines for Life, visit www.linesforlife.org.