NASP Article on Suicide Prevention During the Pandemic

Suicide Prevention within COVID 19 Pandemic

Over the past several years in working with students at the secondary level, I have found myself approaching school breaks with trepidation for their wellness, mental health, and safety. Unfortunately, when students are out of school, our community has been impacted by student deaths resulting from suicide. Now, impact of the global pandemic has intensified the concern for students given the closures of school buildings with the reopening unknown. The mandates of “stay in place”, social distancing, and face coverings over the past few months, have resulted in drastic change in routines, increase in uncertainty, the loss of employment, and the lives of over 100,000 U.S. citizens.  Educators responded by transforming the face of schools virtually overnight from brick and mortar to computer screens within a distance learning platform.  The pandemic has intensified the concern for the safety, wellness, and mental health of our students with implications for policy and the practice of school psychologists.  

Nationally, suicide is the leading cause of death among youth. Advocacy efforts at the local, state, and national level on behalf of students has resulted in new suicide prevention policy and practice. Over the past few years, there have been several new federal and state laws that have advanced suicide prevention efforts in schools.  The recent legislation has demonstrated the commitment and recognition of policymakers around the importance of school-based prevention efforts; the approval for a 3-digit national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system and mandated suicide prevention education for students, staff, and parents.  NASP has continued to provide leadership and advocacy efforts with suicide prevention.  NASP, in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the American School Counselor Association, and the Trevor Project authored a comprehensive guidebook [Model School District Suicide Prevention Policy] for school administrators and policymakers. This guidebook provides a framework for best practices for the continuum of K-12 suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention policies. 

At the district level, we have responded as school psychologists to address the student needs by engaging in grassroots advocacy and leadership roles to expand efforts beyond district crisis response (i.e. suicide intervention, postvention) to ensure a comprehensive suicide prevention framework. Suicide is a 24/7 issue. Thus, we partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, law enforcement, community mental health agencies, and with local hospital emergency screening unit teams.  As a result, our team developed a district protocol to prevent, assess the risk of, intervene in, and respond to suicide.  Several integral components of a multi-tiered system of suicide prevention has emerged within the district; board approved suicide prevention policy, a district NASP PREPaRE trained crisis team, a district suicide prevention coordinator, a district suicide prevention council, district-wide coordinated implementation of Signs of Suicide (SOS) prevention education for students, staff, and parents, a community suicide prevention forum, suicide prevention training of trainers (TOT) of school site coordinators, suicide risk assessment protocol and training, educating the community regarding firearm safety, and postvention support in collaboration with community partners.

In March 2020, the global pandemic of COVID-19 drastically changed the landscape of education and our practice as school psychologists, especially with suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.  Within the first week of school closure, our community was impacted by the death of a student by suicide.   To be honest, there was uncertainty in the “if” or “how” to best provide crisis response and postvention supports.  In collaboration with a few of our NASP PREPaRE community leaders -thank you Dr. Melissa Reeves and Dr. Ben Fernandez – we navigated the discussion with the site crisis leadership team, guided the response efforts, and initiated revision of our suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention protocol to address the needs within a distance learning educational milieu. As a result, our district has provided a comprehensive on-line suicide prevention protocol with embedded forms and resources.

As we continue to face social distancing and school closures in response to the global pandemic, the need for school psychologists to advocate and provide guidance and leadership in suicide prevention efforts is paramount.   Suicide prevention programs and policies expand our roles as crisis responders to include preventive supports for student wellness, mental health, and safety. The uncertainty surrounding the pandemic may generate for students intensified sense of fear, worry, isolation and suicide risk factors; simultaneously impacting youth protective factors such as hope, access to trusted adults, peer connection, and social activities. It is critical to begin or further our efforts to support our students by engaging in advocacy and providing leadership within our district, state, and at the national level with suicide prevention.

I encourage you to review the resources developed by NASP and your state professional organization.  Ask yourself what can I do, especially during this time of the global pandemic, to address student mental health needs and ensure comprehensive suicide prevention policies and practices that encompass prevention, intervention, and postvention? Each of us are “ADVOCACY”, let’s find our voice!  

NASP Comprehensive School Suicide Prevention in a Time of Distance Learning  

Preparing for Virtual School Suicide Risk Assessment Checklist  

COVID-19: Crisis & Mental Health Resources

Source

CALIFORNIA SCHOOL REOPENING GUIDEBOOK “Stronger Together”

The California Department of Education recently released a guidebook for reopening schools. I was particularly drawn to pages 34-36 on “Mental Health and The Well-being of All”. This guide book is easy to read and navigate and should be a good reference tool for reopening.

Link:

Stronger Together- Guide to Reopening Schools

Social Emotional skills taught by Mr. Parker

Mr. Parker's Lessons

Mr. Parker is a School Psychologist who has creatively published a series of Social-Emotional videos on YouTube. He uses music and songs to help teach vital social-emotional skills. Here is a link to his website: HERE

Mr. Parker’s Videos

Empathy: An important tool, now more than ever

Paying Attention: Help children be fully alert and present in the moment

I Messages: Help children effectively communicate their feelings

Feelings: Emotions are a natural part of the human experience

Perspectives: The world may look much different when we put ourselves in another’s shoes

Worries: Help children understand a feeling that is likely to be common during the pandemic

Paraphrasing: Help children listen to understand rather than listen to respond

Happiness: What brings us you?

HEARS Method: Help children show empathy and active listening skills

Getting Started: Help children understand the importance of taking initiative

Anger: The human emotion that we must all learn to manage

Triggers: Help children understand the factors that contribute to their emotions

Expressing Your Feelings: Help children make positive choices when they experience various emotions

Consequences: Help children engage in thoughtful behaviors

Deep Breathing: A healthy coping tool for children in times of stress

Calming Down: Help children learn emotional regulation strategies

 

 

More COVID 19 Family and Educator Resources

Family/Educator Resources

Social-Emotional Support for Students

Social Stories

  • The Yucky Bug – Link
  • My Coronavirus Story – Easterseals – Link
  • Time to Come In, Bear: A Children’s Story about Social Distancing – Link
  • YouTube Channel with various social stories – Link
    • The New Rules of Keeping My Body in the Group and Out of the Group
    • The Rules of Wearing a Mask
    • Rules! Rules! Rules! Rules for Learning Online!
    • When My Parents are Working From Home
    • My Home is My School
  • Video Chatting – A New Way to Communicate Link
    • Social story to describe video chatting, related emotions, and conversation starters

Social-Emotional Learning 

  • Social Thinking – Free Stuff to Use and Home and School – Link
    • Free resources on social skills and how to teach them! 
      • Read Aloud Books and Thinksheets
      • Video Lessons
      • Free Articles 
      • Free Webinars and Aha! Moments to Teach or Core Concepts and Products
    • New added resources each week!
  • Second Step Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum – Link
    • Free social-emotional learning resources for mental health professionals, educators, and parents to support skill-building for themselves and/or students 

Coping – Parent and Staff Guides

  • Large-Scale Natural Disasters: Helping Children Cope – Link
    • Handout – How to support children
  • Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with the Coronavirus Disease 2019
  • Age-Related Reactions to a Traumatic EventLink
  • Supporting Children During Coronavirus (COVID19) – Link
  • Coping in Hard Times: Fact Sheet for Community Organizations and LeadersLink
  • Coping in Hard Times: Fact Sheet for Youth High School and College AgeLink
  • Coping in Hard Times: Fact Sheet for Parents – Link
  • Pandemic Flu Fact Sheet: A Parents’ Guide to Helping Families Cope with a Pandemic Flu
  • Helping Children Cope with Changes Resulting from COVID-19
  • Anxiety: Helping Handout for School and Home – Link
  • Depression: Helping Handout for Home – Link
  • Sleep Problems: Helping Handout for Home – Link
  • Addressing Grief – Link
    • Brief Facts and Tips, and Related Resources
  • Grief: Helping Handout for School and Home – Link

Healing After Disasters

  • PFA: Parent Tips for Helping Adolescents after Disasters – Link
  • PFA: Parent Tips for Helping Infants and Toddlers after Disasters – Link
  • PFA: Parent Tips for Helping Preschool-Age Children after Disasters – Link
  • PFA: Parent Tips for Helping School-Age Children after Disasters – Link
  • After a Crisis: Helping Young Children Heal – Link

Educational Activities and Supports

Lessons/ Activities

  • My 2020 COVID-19 Time CapsuleLink
    • Printable activity book for kids!
  • Simple Activities for Children and Adolescents – Link
  • Seesaw – Remote Learning – Link
    • Trainings/PD and Resources
  • BrainPOP – Remote LearningLink
    • Lessons and Activities for various subjects
  • Epic! – Remote Learning Link
    • Parent and educator access
    • Books, learning videos, quizzes and more

Teaching Students about Coronavirus – Videos and Fact Sheets

  • Coronavirus Outbreak: How to protect yourself – Kids Learning Cartoon – Dr. Panda Tototime – Link
  • What is Coronavirus? Coronavirus Outbreak  – The Dr. Binocs Show – Peekaboo Kidz – Link
  • Talking to Children About Coronavirus: A Parent Resource
    • English
    • Spanish
    • Amharic, Chinese, Korean, French, Vietnamese, Bahasa, and Udu available on:

Parent/Guardian Distance Learning Supports

  • Parent Guide – Creating a Home Learning Environment (Handout) – Link
  • Daily Schedule (Blank, Printable)Link
  • Engagement and Motivation: Helping Handout for Home – Link
  • Using Praise and Rewards Wisely: Helping Handout for School and Home – Link

Self-Care for Adults

  • Free Guide to Living with Worry and Anxiety Amidst Global Uncertainty – Psychology Tools (Adults) – Link
    • Offered in many languages!
  • Self-Care: Dangers of “motivational” pressure – Link
  • Staff ResourcesLink
    • Self-Care Strategies, Meditation and Mindfulness, Free Exercise Opportunities, Arts and Entertainment, and Free Educational Opportunities!
  • Teacher Survival Tips – Dealing with Physical Distancing (Short Handout)Link
  • Care For Your Coronavirus Anxiety ToolkitLink
    • Online toolkit/website with information and activities (e.g., meditations) to address anxiety
  • That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief  – Harvard Business Review Article Link
  • Teacher NewsletterLink
    • Tips for Managing Stress and Anxiety (for you, students, or parents)
    • Talking about COVID-19 With Students
    • Examples of Child-Friendly Language You Can Use about COVID-19
  • FACE COVID – How to respond effectively to the Corona crisis (e-book) – Link
  • Wellness: 6 tips for taking care of yourself during this stressful time – Link
  • Taking Care of Yourself – Link
  • Coping with the COVID-19 Crisis: The Importance of Care for Caregivers – Tips for Administrators and Crisis Teams – Link
  • Care for Caregivers: Tips for Families and Educators – Link
  • Support for Teachers Affected by Trauma (STAT) Training Program Link
    • Geared toward pre-k through 12th grade teachers
    • Five online modules that explore the concepts of secondary trauma, risk factors associated with susceptibility to STS, the impact of STS across multiple life domains, and tangible self-care skills.
    • Self-paced training 

Distance Learning Supports (Teachers/Staff)

  • Learning and Teaching Online and From HomeLink
    • Expert advice, tips, and resources from Connections Academy online school educators
  • Using Praise and Rewards Wisely: Helping Handout for School and Home – Link
  • Anxiety: Helping Handout for School and Home – Link
  • Grief: Helping Handout for School and Home – Link
  • Seesaw – Remote Learning – Link
    • Trainings/PD and Resources
  • BrainPOP – Remote LearningLink
    • Lessons and Activities for various subjects

Addressing Harassment and Bullying

  • US Department of EducationLink
    • Letter and resources to address stereotyping, harassment and bullying
  • Countering Coronavirus Stigma and Racism: Tips for Teacher and Other Educators – Link
  • Countering Coronavirus Stigma and Racism: Tips for Parent and Caregivers

Crisis Supports

Suicide

  • Comprehensive School Suicide Prevention in a Time of Distance Learning – Link
  • Preventing Youth Suicide: Tips for Parents and Educators
  • Suicidal Thinking and Threats: Helping Handout for Home – Link

Emergency Management and Response

  • Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS)Link
    • Guidance, resources, tools, and training 
  • The PREPaRE Model, Crisis Intervention, and Global Pandemic –

Source

Source found on FaceBook: Copy of Family and Educator Resources for COVID-19 (PDF)

High School Hygiene

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Working at a High School I occasionally have to team with our school nurse to talk to students about hygiene. Here are some of the materials I use.

Articles

PERSONAL CARE HEALTH SOCIAL SKILLS AND SAFETY (Manual) -Great Resource*

Hygiene in Adolescents with ASD

Assessment

https://www.therapistaid.com/worksheets/self-care-assessment.pdf

Personal care self assessment

Tools

Daily Personal Care Checklist

Before we go out- Checklist

Shower Routine Visual

Deodorant Social Story

Wellness Worksheets

Videos

Scientific

Old School -Things haven’t really changed too much.

Cartoon

What is Puberty? Decoding Puberty in Girls

All About Boys Puberty

Inside Puberty: What Are the Stages of Puberty?

The Best English Language Learner Resource “Colorin Colorado!”

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Colorin Colorado!

Learning a second language can be difficult on its own. Pair language acquisition with learning in school and it can be downright frustrating to students and families. Colorín Colorado is the premier national website serving educators and families of English language learners (ELLs) in Grades PreK-12. Colorín Colorado has been providing free research-based information, activities, and advice to parents, schools, and communities around the country for more than a decade.

Link- Colorin Colorado

 

 

Skill-Based Assessments from the Northeast Educational Services Cooperative (NESC)

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Skill-Based Assessments

Adaptive Behavior
Adaptive Behavior Functional Checklist
Adaptive Functioning Skills (5 to 10) (11+)
Life Skills Checklist by Christine Fields (4 to 7) (8 to 12) (13 to 15) (16 to 18)
School and Community Social Skills Rating Checklist
Systematic Adaptive Behavior Characteristics Checklist (Birth to 5) (6 to 13) (14 to 21)
Systematic Observations for Adaptive Behavior (Birth to 5) (6 to 13) (14 to 21)
Transition Skills Guidelines (for Students with Hearing Loss)

Autism Spectrum
Autism Team Questions (Elementary) (MS to HS)
Behavior and Communication Questionnaire
Challenging Behaviors for an ASD Student
Dyssemia Rating Scale (DRS) – School Screening
M-CHAT
Moving Toward Functional Social Competence
Vocational Evaluation Checklist for an Individual with Autism

Behavior
Behavior Checklist
Behavior Input Form (Parent) (Teacher)
Informal Behavior Assessment
Organizational and Independent Skills (Instructions) (PK/K) (Elem) (MS/HS)
PRIM-3 Behavior Checklist
Skill-Based Behavior Rating Scale

Early Childhood
Child Skills Checklist
Developmental Checklist (1 to 3 months) (4 to 7 months) (8 to 12 months) (12 to 24 months)
Developmental Checklist (2 to 3 years) (3 to 4 years) (4 to 5 years)
Developmental Milestones (12 months) (18 months) (Age 2) (Age 3) (Age 4) (Age 5)
Early Childhood Self-Care Checklist
Kindergarten Readiness Checklist
PK to Kindergarten Academic Skills (Assessment) (Tally Sheet)
Preschool Sequence Academic Checklist

Listening Comprehension and Oral Expression
Informal Progress Monitoring for Listening Comprehension and Oral Expression
Norms for Listening Comprehension and Oral Expression
Teacher Checklist for Listening Comprehension
Teacher Checklist for Oral Expression
Unpacked Standards – Listening, Viewing, and Speaking: K123456789101112

Math
Assessing Performance in Problem Solving (Checklist) (Frequency Chart)
Basic Math Test (K) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (K – 6 Answer Key and Task Analysis)
Informal Math Probe (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) and Answers (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
Skill-Based Math Checklist (K) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
West Virginia ABE Skills Checklist – Math

Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy
Assessment of Functional Skills in the Educational Environment
Feeding Developmental Milestones
Fine Motor / Visual Motor Developmental Milestones
Functional Mobility / Self-Help Assessment
Gross Motor Developmental Milestones
Handwriting Assessment
Home Environment Information
Input Checklist for PT-OT
Personal Care Developmental Milestones
PT-OT Skill-Based Ideas
Release and Grasp Developmental Milestones
Transportation Assessment
Wheelchair Assessment

Reading
Fry Word Lists
Reading Comprehension Checklist
Reading Fluency Teacher Rating
Reading Fluency Verbage for Present Levels
West Virginia ABE Skills Checklist – Reading

Social Skills
Nonverbal Communication Milestones
Observation Profile for Social Skills
Social Communication Skills – the Pragmatics Checklist
Social/Emotional Assessment

Speech-Language Pathology
Functional Language Checklist
Nonacademic Adverse Effects of Speech Impairment
Nonverbal Skill-Based Assessment
Orion’s Pragmatic Language Skills Questionnaire
Pragmatics Checklist
Speech and Articulation Development Chart
Speech-Only Referral Form
Teacher Input – Articulation
Teacher’s Rating Scale – Pragmatic Language Evaluation
Voice Evaluation

Transition
Adolescent Autonomy Checklist
Assessment of Financial Skills and Abilities
Career Clusters Interest Survey
Consent to Invite Outside Agency
Independent Living Assessment
Life Skills Inventory
Quickbook of Transition Assessments
Self-Determination / Self-Advocacy Checklist
Self-Determinationf Self-Assessment
Social and Vocational Abilities Listing
Student Transition Interview Form
Vocational Behavior Evaluation

Written Expression
6 + 1 Writing Rubric (K-2) (3-12)
Skill-Based Writing Inventory (K-6) (7-12)
Qualitative Features of Writing Checklist
WE-CBM Error Tracking Checklist
West Virginia ABE Skills Checklist – Writing

Traumatic Brain Injury Resources from BrainSTARS

Recently we had a student who had a traumatic brain injury and we were looking for user-friendly strategies to use at school. Our speech and language pathologist suggested BrainSTARS. I hope you find it as useful as we have in supporting students with brain injuries.

Tools from the BrainSTARS manual:

The manual is available in English and Spanish. For more information or to order copies, call 1.800.624.6553, ext. 5470 or moores.christine@tchden.org.

Videos

Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as a blow to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate or severe, depending on the extent of damage to the brain. Mild cases may result in a brief change in mental state or consciousness, while severe cases may result in extended periods of unconsciousness, coma or even death.

About 1.7 million cases of TBI occur in the U.S. every year. Approximately 5.3 million people live with a disability caused by TBI in the U.S. alone.

  • Annual direct and indirect TBI costs are estimated at $48-56 billion.
  • There are about 235,000 hospitalizations for TBI every year, which is more than 20 times the number of hospitalizations for spinal cord injury.
  • Among children ages 14 and younger, TBI accounts for an estimated 2,685 deaths, 37,000 hospitalizations and 435,000 emergency room visits.
  • Every year, 80,000-90,000 people experience the onset of long-term or lifelong disabilities associated with TBI.
  • Males represent 78.8 percent of all reported TBI accidents and females represent 21.2 percent.
  • National statistics estimate between 50-70 percent of TBI accidents are the result of a motor vehicle crash.
  • Sports and recreational activities contribute to about 21 percent of all TBIs among American children and adolescents.
  • The mortality rate for TBI is 30 per 100,000, or an estimated 50,000 deaths in the U.S. annually. Of those who die, 50 percent do so within the first two hours of their injury.
  • Deaths from head injuries account for 34 percent of all traumatic deaths. Beginning at age 30, the mortality risk after head injury begins to increase. Persons age 60 and older have the highest death rate after TBI, primarily because of falls, which have a rising incidence in this age group.

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Incidence and Distribution, 2004.

Traumatic Brain Injury Model System, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Introduction to Brain Injury – Facts and Stats, February, 2000

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