Stopping Suicide With School

By Jim Madalinsky

Published 08/26 2014 03:21PM

Updated 08/26 2014 06:24PM

ALTOONA - Spring Cove School District has a full time school psychologist, counselors and programs at each level to make sure students feel safe.
“It's an environmental thing. A climate thing. Kids feel they're cared about they can go to somebody,” Spring Cove Superintendent Dr. Robert Vadella says.
The district says they'll take a look at the state's new law that requires a comprehensive suicide prevention plan, but they're not sure how much they'll be able to change.
“Schools have been charged with trying to fix the ills of society,” Dr. Vadella says.
Every year about 4,600 young adults between the ages of 10 and 24 commit suicide according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Mark Frederick leads Blair County's task force for suicide prevention and says those numbers are a concern.
“They're not going down so for the state to take a formal role via education I think is going to be really helpful,” Mark Frederick says.
Frederick says it's not just the schools problem, but one that needs to be looked at.
“Too often we've gone into schools after tragedy and we found out that other adolescents aren't aware and sometimes when they are aware they don't report it,” Frederick says.
And for school administrators it's all part of a changing school atmosphere that's come a long way from just math and reading.
“Schools are social systems and the social part is a very big part of what children need,” Vadella says.
Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among young adults. Frederick says he continues to work with schools and students specifically to help them recognize signs of suicide like depression.

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