Durango schools take new approach to preventing suicides | KOB 4

Durango schools take new approach to preventing suicides

Meg Hilling
October 23, 2018 07:11 PM

DURANGO – As La Plata County officials work to address the high number of suicides in the county, officials with the Durango School District 9-R, are working to provide every resource possible to their students.


"You know we’ve had a tough couple of years. We’ve had a number of suicides that are very public. La Plata County has certainly been recognized for having some of the highest suicide rates in the nation," Dan Snowberger, Superintendent of Durango School District 9-R said. "As we look at that it’s not just a school problem, it’s not just a school-age child problem. It’s a societal problem here in our community.”

The state of Colorado is plagued by suicides. The Colorado Health Institute reports that there were 1,175 statewide last year alone and La Plata County is one of the hardest hit – with 31.4 suicides per 100,000 people.

That’s why the school district is taking a new approach to mental health.

"The multi-tiered systems approach really takes into account social/emotional supports, but also removes barriers for learning for students as well,” Marcy Lawrence, Director of Exceptional Student Services for Durango School District 9-R said

The district is using a Mental Health Toolkit. It provides a roadmap for in school counseling – and helps inform students of services available after the bell rings – like anonymous reporting lines such as Safe-2-Tell and other community resources.

"Which is really important when you talk about suicide prevention because it looks at the whole child," Lawrence said.

While school officials say they know such struggles among students will not go away overnight, they are hopeful these resources will begin to turn the tide in La Plata County.

"It's really important for us to think collaboratively and creatively when we are working with our students," Lawrence said.


Meg Hilling

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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