Starting young — suicide awareness in schools
The quest for a lower suicide rate in Mesa County should begin early in life.
That’s the theory behind having some form of suicide prevention curriculum in every District 51 school, according to District 51 Prevention Coordinator Cathy Haller.
The district began offering Signs of Suicide, or SOS, education at all middle schools in 2010. All high schools got SOS curriculum last school year and offer it to all ninth-graders and sometimes older students.
Starting this year, all District 51 elementary schools will begin Riding the Waves programming. Unlike suicide prevention programming for older students, Riding the Waves focuses less on recognizing the signs of suicide and how to tell someone and focuses more on teaching fifth-graders how to cope with difficult situations and handle grief.
Shelledy Elementary also will pilot another program for first- and second-graders this year, The Good Behavior Game, which teaches behavior norms and the rules of peer interactions to deter bullying, behavior issues and suicide later in life.