Two Area Schools Get Suicide Prevention Grants

Two Area Schools Get Suicide Prevention Grants

by Nathan Brown, Coeur d’Alene Press

Two area schools are getting state grants to help fight teen suicide.

Butte County Junior-Senior High School in Arco and Blackfoot Charter Middle School are among the 17 schools statewide that will each get $2,400 Sources of Strength grants. The money will be used to help pay for adult advisers and to fund peer leader activities, the State Department of Education said in a news release. The program is part of the Idaho Lives Project, a joint effort between the Education department and the state Department of Health and Welfare’s Suicide Prevention Program.

“Given the devastating effect suicide has on our school communities, it is vitally important that students have trusted, caring adults and peers in their lives,” Matt McCarter, student engagement director for the education department and project administrator for the Idaho Lives Project, said in a statement. “Sources of Strength cultivates supportive relationships and builds up protective factors like hope, persistence and emotional regulation. We are thrilled to have these schools on board.”

The schools, McCarter said, have to apply for the grants. The state considers factors such as the district’s need, recent suicides and the potential benefits in deciding who gets funded.

“We don’t have enough resources to implement in every district that’s interested,” he said.

The adult advisers oversee the student teams, who come up with suicide prevention activities to “spread messages of hope, health and strength” to their peers.

“The idea is to empower students to come up with their own activities,” he said.