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North Iowans developing suicide protocol for schools

A Charles City social worker and Iowa St. Representative Todd Prichard are working to implement a universal protocol for districts to follow to address the needs of students if they have been contemplating suicide, as well as re-entering schools after a crisis

Posted: Feb 22, 2020 3:30 AM

CHARLES CITY, Iowa - The topic of mental health and suicide, particularly in youth, has dominated the conversation across the country.

According to the Iowa-based Foundation 2, an organization that aims to connect those who are suicidal to life-saving resources, reports of suicide in teens have increased almost 200% since the 1960's.

Jenna Haglund is a social worker for Charles City Middle School, as well as at Waverly-Shell Rock. She's had students come to her if they've been contemplating suicide, with some even being hospitalized because of it.

"Between 2012 and 2018, the suicidal ideation went up 53% in students. 1 in 10 students said in 2018 within the last year that they attempted suicide. 1 in 20 thought about suicide."

While some districts have implemented such guidelines to deal with kids who have expressed or attempted suicide, there currently isn't a uniform way statewide, so she set out to create a universal protocol for districts to follow to address those students needs if they have been contemplating it, as well as those re-entering schools after a crisis, such as having an established support system. While some may think that there already is such a system in place, Haglund says that's not necessarily the case; she notes there was an effort to introduce such statewide protocol in 2018, but the legislation was withdrawn. 

"'Of course, it's 2020, so protocols should already be out there, even to the point where the AEA's are writing them or somebody else is already doing it.' When I'm telling people, 'no, this is the bill, this is it', that's somewhat shocking to people that they don't realize that something's not already in place."

Helping her in the efforts is House Representative Todd Prichard, who has also seen the need to get it addressed.

"What we want, with guidance from the Iowa Department of Education and the Area Education Associations with their school districts, is to say 'what's the best practice? What are resources are available locally in terms of who are the providers we want to use, and how do we want to deal with this child?'"

Prichard introduced the bill, titled HF2120, in January. This week, the bill passed subcommittee, and then committee, and is now awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives. 

Haglund and Prichard say a system like this could save lives.

"The idea is to have a plan, and to be ready and prepare to respond. Failure to plan means you should plan to fail, and we don't want to see schools do that."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 604406

Reported Deaths: 7629
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1249281777
Ramsey52501896
Dakota46829470
Anoka42767458
Washington27423291
Stearns22555224
St. Louis18138313
Scott17550135
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Olmsted13397102
Sherburne1201695
Carver1067248
Clay826092
Rice8200110
Blue Earth762544
Crow Wing681794
Kandiyohi667985
Chisago619852
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Benton582998
Goodhue483874
Douglas475481
Mower470633
Winona461351
Itasca459463
Isanti439964
McLeod430561
Morrison424862
Beltrami407861
Nobles407650
Steele397916
Polk389072
Becker386755
Lyon363853
Carlton352856
Freeborn346933
Pine335023
Nicollet331245
Mille Lacs311954
Brown307840
Le Sueur297326
Cass286132
Todd285633
Meeker263342
Waseca238023
Martin235332
Roseau211221
Wabasha20783
Hubbard196641
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Renville182446
Redwood176539
Houston174616
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Faribault154719
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Aitkin138937
Watonwan13579
Rock128719
Jackson122612
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Yellow Medicine114920
Pope11306
Murray107110
Swift106918
Koochiching95417
Stevens92411
Clearwater89016
Marshall88817
Lake83220
Wilkin83213
Lac qui Parle75622
Big Stone6044
Grant5948
Lincoln5853
Mahnomen5669
Norman5479
Kittson49022
Unassigned48393
Red Lake4017
Traverse3775
Lake of the Woods3453
Cook1720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 371050

Reported Deaths: 6051
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58259640
Linn21218339
Scott20307248
Black Hawk16139312
Woodbury15238230
Johnson1461985
Dubuque13509211
Dallas1128899
Pottawattamie11225174
Story1071448
Warren583891
Clinton561593
Cerro Gordo554093
Sioux517474
Webster515794
Muscatine4882106
Marshall486676
Des Moines467472
Wapello4338122
Buena Vista426940
Jasper421172
Plymouth403181
Lee382356
Marion366076
Jones300957
Henry294637
Bremer288461
Carroll286952
Boone268634
Crawford268440
Benton259855
Washington257251
Dickinson249344
Mahaska232651
Jackson225242
Clay216727
Kossuth216166
Tama211971
Delaware211143
Winneshiek198635
Page194522
Buchanan193833
Cedar192423
Hardin187444
Fayette186643
Wright186040
Hamilton181951
Harrison180073
Clayton171157
Butler166335
Madison164619
Mills163824
Floyd163442
Cherokee159338
Lyon158841
Poweshiek157036
Allamakee152952
Hancock150334
Iowa149824
Winnebago144531
Cass139255
Calhoun138913
Grundy137333
Emmet135841
Jefferson133435
Shelby131537
Sac130920
Union130035
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Appanoose129049
Mitchell126643
Chickasaw124817
Franklin123523
Guthrie123332
Humboldt119626
Palo Alto113623
Howard104922
Montgomery103638
Clarke100924
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Monroe96431
Unassigned9560
Ida91535
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Davis85225
Monona82931
Osceola78916
Greene78011
Lucas77923
Worth7618
Taylor66812
Fremont6269
Decatur6169
Ringgold56424
Van Buren56418
Wayne54423
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Adams3444
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