The Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District School Board recognizes that we have a vital role to play in a full system of mental health care, including suicide prevention and intervention. As a school board, our role is most focused on promoting mental health and well-being for ALL students, through universal approaches that are beneficial for all children and youth. These approaches are the focus of Be Well: PVNCCDSB’s Strategy for Mental Health and Well-Being. We can also help to identify SOME students with, or at risk for developing, mental health problems and can help with targeted skill-building and with referrals to mental health support teams. With the assistance of professionals with mental health expertise, we can lend support to the FEW students who require more intensive intervention while at school, working in partnership with involved community agencies.
A Comprehensive Approach to Suicide Prevention
- Creating safe, caring classroom and school cultures for all students
- Intentional teaching and learning of social emotional skills
- Early identification and treatment of mental health problems
- Training for professional staff
- Focus on mental health awareness, promotion and fostering well-being for all
Mental Health First Aid
Our Board has a team of Mental Health First Aid trainers who began delivering this training to staff in the 2012-2013 school year. This two-day certification program equips participants to be alert to students who might be dealing with mental health difficulties and to respond by connecting those students to appropriate school- and community-based supports. To-date, all Principals and Vice-Principals have received this training as well as over 100 staff members. This training continues to be offered to our system as a way to build awareness and capacity within our Board to respond effectively to student mental health needs, and is an important component of our Board Suicide Prevention Strategy.
All of our School Social Workers and Psychology staff are trained in Applied Suicide Interventions Skills Training to ensure that they are equipped to respond effectively to students at risk of suicide. In accordance with our Board Suicide Intervention Protocol, a school social worker will conduct a timely risk review whenever suicide risk is identified at school. School Social Workers play a vital role in connecting students and their families to supports and in facilitating ongoing communication with schools in order to meet the social, emotional, and academic needs of students at risk.
PVNC has a team of six safeTALK trainers who offer training on an ongoing basis to all staff groups.This three-hour training equips staff to be alert to individuals at risk of suicide, to feel confident in engaging in conversation with a person at risk, and to know how to connect that person to help. safeTALK is an important component of our Board Suicide Prevention Strategy. Since it began in 2014, over 300 staff have participated in this training.