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Symposium Focuses on Suicide Prevention & Connecting Schools to Mental Health Resources
05/06/2019
WACO, Texas - Bringing educators, mental health providers and others together to learn and take actionable steps to save lives, regarding what is considered “the preventable epidemic” among American youth, is the focus of the 14th Annual Teen Suicide Prevention Symposium.

Education Service Center (ESC) Region 12, Cedar Crest Residential Treatment Center (Platinum Sponsor), Providence Ascension Healthcare Network (Gold Sponsor), and the Methodist Children's Home (Gold Sponsor) will present the symposium 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, June 13 at ESC Region 12, 2101 W. Loop 340 in Waco. 

Medical and mental health speakers will share research and strategies for helping youth who struggle with suicidal ideation.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an average of one person dies by suicide every 13.7 minutes in the U.S with more than 120 people dying by suicide each day. 

Jenipher Janek, ESC Region 12 counseling specialist and regional crisis response team leader, says social media continues to be a factor in teen suicide, but efforts to raise awareness about healthy practices and reporting options are making a difference in Central Texas schools.

"We are seeing an increase in the need for suicide prevention and intervention in our region and in our state. This event offers an opportunity to come together and discuss ways that we may be more effective and collaborative in our efforts to keep our kids safe."

In addition to the speakers and panel, several organizations will provide resources in an effort to bridge the gap between education and mental health services. 

“Schools are struggling to find and make connections with resources in the community,” Janek said. “If we can provide a collaborative place for making that less difficult, we’d really like to do that. Our kids are depending on us.”

More than 35 participants from schools and other entities are registered and additional seats are available. The symposium is $90 to attend and includes a light breakfast and lunch. Registration is available at www.esc12.net.

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