Superintendent's Letter on Suicide Prevention

  • SUBJECT: Information about Suicide Prevention Month

    Dear Cherry Creek Schools Community,

    September marks Suicide Prevention month across the world and serves as an opportunity for me to connect with you regarding this important matter. While we use this month to increase knowledge and combat the stigma around suicide, I want to assure you that suicide prevention is very much a daily activity in our schools.

    Our comprehensive continuum of supports for students is based in best practices, driven by an understanding of developmental needs and is centered on doing what is best for every child. 

    At the elementary level, we emphasize teaching social-emotional skills, as they are shown to be connected to reducing suicide risk. At the middle school level, we introduce Signs of Suicide, a program that teaches students how to identify and respond to the signs of suicide and depression in themselves and classmates. It also guides them on how to get help from a trusted adult at school, home or in the community. School staff take a trusted adult training that prepares them to respond in helpful and supportive ways to students in need.

    Within our high schools, we expand upon this foundation with Sources of Strength, a student-led wellness program designed to build resilience, increase connection, change unhealthy norms around help-seeking, break down codes of secrecy and silence and teach healthy coping strategies. A diverse group of peer leaders works with adult advisors throughout the year in an elective class to plan, problem-solve and activate a variety of strategies. These campaigns are designed to spread messages of hope, help and strength within the school community.

    Suicide prevention also occurs through the day-to-day actions of our staff – building trust and relationships, engaging in ongoing equity work and cultural humility, modeling a growth mindset and reducing stigma by normalizing conversations about mental health. 

    As the complex mental health needs of our students continue to be a top priority, our partnership with you has never been more important, so I am going to ask for your help in the following ways.

    • Visit the suicide prevention section of our website to familiarize yourself with protective and risk factors, warning signs, action steps and resources.
    • Take advantage of additional resources on the mental health page and wellness supports and resources page.
    • Watch this powerful film developed by CCSD students and staff to empower all of us to do our part in preventing suicide.
    • Familiarize yourself with Safe2Tell, our anonymous reporting system, and the resources available through Colorado Crisis Services, to make sure you know who to call to report concerns or receive support.

    Most importantly, talk to the young people in your life. Let them know that they are important. Let them know they have a network of support, care and love. Carry the message that while difficult times in life are inevitable, suicide is not. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of every single one of our students.

     

    Sincerely,

     

    Christopher Smith
    Superintendent

    September 2021

Last Modified on October 8, 2021