Finding Hope


FINDING HOPE: Vallivue schools fight teen suicide

Posted at 6:59 AM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 08:59:13-05

CANYON COUNTY, Idaho — The Vallivue School District has faced more than its fair share of teen suicide in the past year, and they're not waiting around for it to happen again.

The Idaho state legislature is considering whether teachers need the training to help recognize students in crisis, but the Vallivue School District says recent events make it a no-brainer.

"Last year, Vallivue had its heart broken a couple of times with a few students who we lost," said Joey Palmer, Director of Federal and State Programs at Vallivue.

Instead of waiting for the legislature to realize the importance, Vallivue is finding another way. They're getting rid of the regular professional development courses teachers can take each year and replacing them with courses focused entirely on trauma-informed teaching.

"We want teachers to recognize trauma and how to be sensitive to it, how to connect them to the resources they need to be able to take care of those issues," said Palmer.

Trauma-informed teaching helps teachers recognized the signs of mental health crises and how to get the students the help they need. This is the first year for the training, and the response has been huge.

"I think we are definitely seeing success," said Palmer. "We've heard feedback from teachers say this is the best PD they've had in their thirty-year careers."

More than just recognizing the problems of kids, the training also helps teachers learn to protect themselves from the stress of the job.

"It's safe to say our kids are struggling with depression now more than ever. The job of teachers is just different than a decade ago," said Palmer.