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Blackfoot school receives grant for suicide prevention program

The Blackfoot Charter Middle School is working to prevent suicide in students. They received a $2,400 grant from “Sources of Strength,” a program sponsored by the Idaho Lives Project.

“It involved peer leaders and adult advisors,” said Krista Christensen, a counselor at the school. “It’s focused on messages of hope, health and strength for students to know that they have strengths they can rely on and trusted adults in their lives during the most difficult of times.”

The program will also feature activities that promote positive messages. It is a preventative program, but advisors will also be trained on what to do in case a student needs help.

“The program is intended to be upstream,” Christensen said. “So it’s preventative and it reaches those students before they’re in crisis; however, there is the piece of it that is reactive because there may be instances that you can’t prevent that cycle from coming into play.”

An Idaho Youth Risk Behavior survey said 21.7 percent of Idaho students grades 9-12 have experienced suicidal thoughts. This program aims to stop that.

“We wanted to make sure that we had an evidence-based, proactive response to help make our schools more welcoming and safer for all of our students,” Christensen said. “And that is exactly the initiative of Sources of Strength.”

The program will begin at the school next year. If you are considering suicide, you can get help. Call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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