Grant funds Petersburg suicide prevention outreach

PETERSBURG, Alaska (AP) — Officials at Petersburg High School have been awarded a state grant for suicide prevention education and outreach efforts.

The district is contracting with Petersburg Mental Health Services to provide suicide prevention services. The four-year, $25,000 grant was provided by the state Department of Education, KFSK reported (http://is.gd/NgirII).

“Since 2005 we’ve had three homicides, five suicides, 32 documented suicide attempts, four drug related deaths, 20 documented alcohol and drug related overdose and accidents,” said Kim Kilkenny with Petersburg Mental Health Services.

The services’ Robin Cooley will work with school counselor Rachel Etcher to implement the program.

“We’ve been going into classrooms for the ninth through 12th grade and doing suicide prevention and education on how do you respond if you find out one of your friends might be suicidal or maybe you’re seeing warning signs and you’re concerned about them,” Cooley told school board members. “It’s all based on going and finding a trusted adult.”

She said also is spending part of her days at the school, helping integrate the program and meeting students, as needed.

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Information from: KFSK-FM, http://www.alaska.net/~kfsk/

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