School counselor part of county task force to help in suicide prevention
By day, Shelly Blair is a counselor at Marion-Walker Elementary School. When not in school, she’s part of a Centre County-based task force through Prevent Suicide PA. The task force is made of volunteers from businesses and agencies around the county including Bellefonte and State College area school districts, Jana Marie Foundation, the county offices of aging and veteran’s affairs, the Youth Service Bureau and more.
“As a task force, our mission is to get out information and gather information to help in the prevention of suicide,” Blair said.
Many counties around the commonwealth also have its own task forces through the program and made of volunteers from similar organizations.
Calling it a “community organization” in Centre County, Blair added that its mission is advocating for the prevention of suicide and working with other organizations and schools districts such as Bellefonte Area to see what resources are provided and what may need to be added. The group meets the second Wednesday of each month in State College.
At Bellefonte Area School District, faculty and staff are required to undergo mandatory training such as that targeting mental health. School initiatives such as the Student Assistance Program and PBIS – otherwise known as the Schoolwide Positive Behavior programs – are also proactive applications in risk prevention among students.
The district also offers two anonymous hotline-type services -- Safe2Say Something and Safe School Helpline. To learn more about the Centre County Suicide Prevention Task Force, follow them on Facebook, or visit the Prevent Suicide PA website, here: Prevent suicide PA
*By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD