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Sources of Strength program added to more schools

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Posted at 4:49 PM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-02 18:49:34-04

BOISE — The Sources of Strength suicide prevention program will be implemented at 21 middle and high schools across Idaho this year.

Idaho has still has one of the highest suicide rates in the country. Several schools across the state have adopted the sources of strength, suicide prevention programs to give mental health resources and education to some of our youngest who may be struggling.

The schools will receive grant money and can decide how to best use the funds for their curriculum.

"The funds are really encouraged to be used to support program actives for students that engage students in those Sources of Strength pieces that they're using or in whatever curriculum they're using," said director of communications for the State Department of Education Karlynn Laraway.

Laraway says this curriculum can be adapted if the schools stay virtual next semester.

"Right now, our providers are working on the online pieces and understanding how to deliver these trainings online in that environment, so we are absolutely prepared for whatever school looks like in the fall," said Laraway.

For the first time, the program extends to kids as young as third grade. The material they learn and mental health topics are scaled to be age-appropriate.

"Sources of Strength focuses on helping students develop healthy friendships, strong friendships and relationships with adults, knowing how to have active conversations when they need help and how to seek help and also healthy outlets for their frustrations their concerns and making sure students have that," said Laraway,

"And that's going to look different in third grade than it does in high school."

Since the launch in 2013, 105 schools in the state have implemented the suicide prevention project.

"The more folks that are trained in identifying student needs, the more effective we can be in connecting students who have a crisis or mental health issues or who are contemplating self-harm or otherwise," said Laraway.

The more schools participating, the more information peers, friends, trusted adults have to help kids get the help they need.

"It takes a village I think to make sure our students are safe, and students spend a lot of time in school, so the more our school person new and others are trained in identifying those behaviors and signs, we can intervene sooner."