In response to a fast growing crisis of teen suicide ideation, attempts and tragic deaths, D.A.R.E. America partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to adapt the Foundation’s “More Than Sad” mental health lesson for presentation to middle school and high school students.
D.A.R.E. Officer Shannon Morris of the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Office in West Virginia taught the “More Than Sad” lesson this past September to several 6th grade classes as part of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
“The students were really engaged and active with participation. The first day we taught the lesson, we were able to help three female students one of whom had a plan for suicide. Fortunately, we were able to intervene, get the student help, and keep the student safe until a mental health worker arrived. We were able to make sure she was safe once she left the school for the weekend. Thanks to a joint effort between a school counselor, a mental health worker, and D.A.R.E., that student is safe today!” stated Deputy Morris.
A few weeks later, Deputy Morris taught the lesson again. This time they were able to help one male and one female student. Deputy Morris learned that his lesson had actually reached four additional students that day. One had two prior suicide attempts and the others were contemplating an attempt. One student suffered from depression and did not have an outlet to get help while another student actually had a plan and was going to act on it. We were able to help all of these students and make sure they were safe and had an outlet to talk to someone.
Deputy Morris taught the lessons alongside Mrs. Mackenzie Taylor who is an Extended School Based Mental Health Educator with Rainelle Medical Center.
“The More Than Sad presentation is better than what I had used in the past,” she stated. “After teaching those lessons with Deputy Morris, I went back to my school and started a different approach in speaking to the students.”
The outcomes have been excellent. Shortly thereafter, she had a student leave a note under her door wanting to talk. The student said that she saw Mrs. Taylor more now as a “human being” than as an “authority figure.” Once she left Mrs. Taylor’s office, she went straight to the school therapist to get help.
As Deputy Morris stated, “The proof is in the pudding. This lesson works and is impacting our youth in a positive way!”
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Copyright © 2022 D.A.R.E. America.
All Rights Reserved.