Pope John Paul II High School’s Suicide Prevention Program

From left: Gary Baits, Julie Suek, Noah Frey, Isabella Kondrat, Nora Antles, Catherine Evans, Joe Cotton-archdiocesan director of Pastoral Care and Outreach. Photo courtesy: Pope John Paul II High School

Submitted by Pope John Paul II High School

Along with other Seattle Archdiocesan Catholic schools, Pope John Paul II High School was recently featured on “EWTN News in Depth” for their participation in the Catholic Lifesaver Corps launched last April to provide peer to peer suicide awareness and prevention within Seattle Archdiocese high schools.

JPII and Archbishop Murphy High School in Everett were in the first cohort to partner with the Office for Catholic Schools and the Office of Pastoral Care and Outreach in this groundbreaking program. That first cohort trained 100 students, parents and staff about youth suicide prevention. With help from the Fulcrum Foundation, the program will eventually expand to all 11 archdiocesan high schools training students and adults in what is called, SafeTALK.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among teens and young adults in the United States. SafeTALK is a four-hour face-to-face workshop featuring powerful presentations, audiovisuals, and skilled practice. Participants learn how to prevent suicide by recognizing signs, engaging someone, and connecting them to an intervention resource for further support.

JPII currently has more than 30 students, teachers and parents trained in SafeTALK with another training session scheduled in February. According to Julie Suek MA, JPII’s school counselor, “Thoughts of suicide are not uncommon in young people. SafeTALK provides a safe place for participants to learn how to ask the relevant and effective questions.”

Link to EWTN Feature

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