ESC Region 12
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June 17 Suicide Prevention Symposium to Feature Students, Bring Educators & Mental Health Providers Together

Teen Suicide Symposium


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 16th Annual Teen Suicide Prevention Symposium.

Education Service Center (ESC) Region 12, Cedar Crest Residential Treatment Center and Heart of Texas Region Mental Health Mental Retardation Center will present the symposium from 9 a.m. to noon, Thursday, June 17. This year's Annual Teen Suicide Prevention Symposium will feature students from Meridian ISD who established a peer-led movement to help prevent suicide among students at their school. Watch this video for a sneak peek This session will be virtual-only and registration is available at

The Symposium will be held virtually this year, participants will receive a two-hour Texas Education Agency approved suicide prevention training, appropriate for all educators. This training is called "AS+K? Gatekeeper training, which meets trauma-informed requirements for training under House Bill 18 and Senate Bill 11 professional development requirements from the 86th Texas legislative session. 

According to the Youth Behavioral Survey, teens across the nation have a suicide attempt rate of 7%. In Texas, that rate is almost double at 12%. Suicide has become the second-leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States. The Suicide Prevention Symposium is an annual event that brings together educators and community members in a forum to take action to prevent suicide through awareness, intervention, and prevention. Community mental health experts will share research and experience-based information and local counselors and practitioners will explore resources to help keep our children safe.

Jenipher Janek, ESC Region 12 counseling specialist and regional crisis response team leader, says "Mental health has always been a point of concern in education, but now comes more formally into our focus as we emerge from the pandemic and recent events that have caused an extremely high degree of anxiety and stress in all populations in our country. ESC Region 12 is fortunate to be working in partnership with Cedar Crest Residential Treatment Center to provide an opportunity to highlight students and staff from Meridian ISD who have organically addressed mental health on their campus and worked collaboratively to start a peer assistance program there."