- Programs for: College mental health and suicide prevention
- Programs for: Suicide prevention training and Professional Development for teachers
This is my second year holding PD (professional development) for Sandoval Academy teachers in New Mexico, a school for K-8th grade. This was a virtual suicide prevention presentation, The Emotionally Naked Truth About Student Suicide. The goal was not to turn teachers into therapists but to spot kids at risk and have the conversations that matter. And then to know the next steps, what to say and how to make the warm handoff.
Catch kids from getting into crisis
Our kids have underdeveloped coping skills because they get less “face time” than previous generations. Because when the digital age moved in, that which we thought would bring us together pushed us apart. Add to that, the overwhelming nature of information coming at this generation.
If we can spot kids who are having issues early, we can arm them with the life skills to prevent addiction, self-harm, or even suicide later.
As a mental health speaker for schools, I help teachers know the early signs and risk factors for suicide. But more importantly, I share case studies about teachers who have been creative in building a foundation of student wellness with very small changes.
Integrating opportunities for learning to cope into the pedagogy
If we embed social-emotional learning opportunities into our pedagogy, then the kids develop those skills they’ll take with them for the rest of their lives. What I’m saying is “be more intentional” with teaching them.
In this presentation, I have several examples of how teachers have done this, as well as sample conversations between an elementary-age child who may be at risk and then one with a teen. Teachers, once they know, get it immediately. They naturally ask with curiosity. They listen and allow students to feel heard. Because in this time in our culture, kids don’t feel heard.
Listen to your listening
- Listen with curiosity
- Listen with empathy and compassion
- Listen without judgment
It is the greatest gift you can offer your children and the ones you teach, coach, or mentor.