Monday, October 2, 2017

Hardin County middle school begins suicide-prevention program; statewide goal is to get it in 100 schools this year

Hardin County North Middle School students talked about what gives them strength during training
that implemented Sources of Strength, a national a suicide-prevention program, at the Radcliff school.
With one in 12 Kentucky high-school sophomores saying they have attempted suicide, the state's schools are stepping up their suicide-prevention efforts.

The main tool is a national program called "Sources of Strength," which "focuses on hope and strength rather than risk factors and warning signs," writes Katherine Knott of The News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown.

The state Department of Behavioral Health and other agencies "have set a goal of implementing Sources of Strength in 100 Kentucky schools during this school year," Knott reports, after seeing the program in action at the first school in Hardin County to use it.

The program involves student peer leaders like Kamar Kennedy, a seventh-grader at North Middle School in Radcliff, who "wants to help others if they are feeling down," Knott reports. “At lunchtime, I can go over and sit by students who are alone,” Kamar told her.

Kamar is one of 32 peer leaders, helped by eight adult advisers. After an all-day trainingto begin the program, he "said they talked about what gives them strength and how to help other students," Knott reports. "The students will organize activities and campaigns during the year to spread a strength-based, positive message to change the climate of the school.

Jodie Bod­nar, the family resource coordinator who brought the program to the school, "said the goal is to raise school connectedness to a new level," Knott reports.

“I’m hoping kids will go back to our school and they’ll be leading a positive movement,” Bodnar told Knott. “We want to change school norms to be more positive.”

Mark Lomurray, who founded Sources of Strength in 1998, was at last week’s training. "He said 20,000 peer leaders are involved with the program across the country, and they’re reaching about 1 million students," Knott reports. "The program uses a strength wheel to highlight different sources, such as family support and spirituality. The wheel prompts students and adults to identify aspects that give them strength and focus on positives."

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