Support in Times of Crisis
Following the news of a death of a member of the BISD community, what immediate support is given to students/staff?
- Anytime there is a death of a student or staff, we activate our Crisis Support Team. This team is comprised of grief counselors (BISD counselors from across the district, counselors from the Olympic Educational Service District and counselors from Bainbridge Youth Services). The counselors meet with those who need help processing the death and the Crisis Support Team remains active until their triage services are no longer required.
- A Quiet Room is set up at the school and is a place for students and staff to express emotions and find solace. Staffed with grief counselors, the Quiet Room offers healthy snacks and drinks and provides outlets for processing emotions such as coloring pages and fidget objects. If students are identified as needing increased levels of support, they are brought to the school counselors’ offices for additional assistance.
How does the district support the social and emotional health of the students?
- Suicide prevention and substance abuse prevention are community-wide issues that require community-wide support. As such, the district and our community partners (Bainbridge Youth Services, Raising Resilience and the Healthy Youth Alliance) co-host parenting seminars throughout the school year. Last year we hosted a panel discussion on substance abuse called What’s the Harm? and plans are being solidified for a similar panel-style discussion on suicide and suicide prevention in the near future.
- BISD is fortunate to have Bainbridge Youth Services housed on its Bainbridge High School campus. This collaborative relationship allows middle- and high-school students to receive free, confidential, on-site counseling.
- This year BISD has launched a Social and Emotional Health Movement with the goal of creating positive school cultures by celebrating students’ key assets, encouraging positive interpersonal skills and nurturing relationships. This movement has been adopted at all schools and across all grade levels.
- Woodward Middle School is in its second year of implementing a student-wellness program that uses the CoVitality Survey. This survey helps identify students who show signs of at-risk behaviors and then WMS counselors follow-up with students and their families to develop a plan for student support. The WMS program is being considered for district-wide adoption at appropriate grade levels.
- BISD is in the process of setting up a pilot of the Signs of Suicide program at the secondary grade level. One of the program’s main goals is to decrease suicide and suicide attempts by increasing students’ awareness and attitudes about depression.
- BISD school counselors, school psychologists and school nurses are trained in suicide prevention and must be retrained every five years in order to keep their certificates current. They are the front-line for suicide prevention.
What happens at the school-level if there are concerns a student may be suicidal?
- When a student, or the student’s peers/parents/teachers, report a suicide concern, counselors and principals meet with the student to investigate and informally assess the risk. The parents/guardians are also alerted.
- Depending on the situation, the next steps may involve creating a Student Safety Plan and providing the family with suicide resources such as a psychological evaluation resource list.
- Each case is individualized and requires a specific plan for the student to meet his/her needs.