Educator resources for suicide awareness and prevention

The following Priority Notice was distributed to superintendents on Tuesday, August 19.

Dear Superintendents,

Ensuring the safety of our students is a commitment we all share and by providing supportive places to learn and thrive, we are doing our part to help our young people reach their full potential.

That is why today, I am pleased to announce the release of an online training video and toolkit, Suicide Prevention Awareness for Maine School Personnel, prepared by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Maine and available at no cost to Maine schools. This important resource aids school districts in complying with Maine’s school-based suicide awareness and prevention law (LD 609, PL 53, DOE Rule Chapter 38) that was passed in April 2013.

The law states a one- to two-hour in-service training module in suicide awareness and prevention that conforms to national guidelines must be completed by all high school personnel by the start of the 2014-2015 school year and by all elementary and middle school personnel by the start of the 2015-2016 school year. All school personnel paid by an SAU must receive the one- to two-hour awareness and prevention level training at least once every five years.

The video, Suicide Prevention Awareness Session for Maine School Personnel, is one training option that is designed to be used in conjunction with the Suicide Prevention Awareness Toolkit for Maine School Personnel to fulfill the legal mandate to provide a suicide awareness session. Simply watching the video does not fulfill the mandate, as it is designed to be accompanied by discussion and exercises presented in the toolkit, and supplemented with information about school-specific protocols and to direct participants to local school, community and state resources. The video and toolkit may be used by a facilitator in a group setting or if necessary, viewed by individuals such as new hires or personnel who missed the larger group training.

In addition to the awareness and prevention training, at least two school personnel per school district must complete a one-day course in suicide prevention and intervention training, commonly referred to as Gatekeeper Training. SAUs with more than 1K students must add trained Gatekeepers following the specific guidance available in the Maine DOE Rules, Chapter 38.

The 2014-15 training schedule will be available later this month on NAMI Maine’s Suicide Prevention Training Calendar. To learn more, please contact the Department’s Health Education and Health Promotion Coordinator, Susan Berry, at susan.berry@maine.gov or 207-624-6695 or visit NAMI Maine’s website.

Sincerely,

Jim Rier, Commissioner
Maine Department of Education

The development of the Suicide Prevention Awareness for Maine School Personnel training video and toolkit is a collaborative effort of NAMI Maine, the Maine CDC and the Maine Department of Education with funding support from the Governor’s Office.