Columbia County school staff train to prevent suicide

SAINT HELENS, OR — An innovative collaboration between Northwest Regional ESD (NWRESD) and Columbia County Mental Health (CCMH) has received project funding of $5,000 from the Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization. The funds will be used to develop a suicide prevention program that will be provided at all five school districts in Columbia County.

“We are excited to receive this funding,” says James Sager, superintendent of Northwest Regional ESD. “The aim of the program is to train certified and classified school staff members. The goal is to help them recognize when children are depressed or potentially suicidal.”

Sager adds that the training will provide staff with the skills to intervene and refer families to other agencies, as appropriate. The ESD also will also use the training and curriculum at Columbia County high schools to increase student awareness, heighten sensitivity to depression and potential suicidal thoughts, change attitudes and offer response procedures to refer a student at risk for suicide.

Columbia Pacific CCO recently awarded $57,000 for seven projects as part of its Community Wellness Investment Fund. The Columbia Pacific CCO board of directors created the funding program to encourage innovation, collaboration and health care transformation in the communities it serves. The funds support programs that are sustainable and are aligned with the each community’s priorities to ensure equal access to health services for all, as well as helping fill gaps in health services.

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