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Project Safety Net (PSN) mobilizes community support and resources in Palo Alto for youth suicide prevention and mental wellness.  We are a coalition working on community education, outreach, and training; access to quality youth mental health services; and policy advocacy.
Our vision: Young people are empowered, in partnership with the whole community, to advocate for themselves and their peers. Youth suicide is ended. Stigma is non-existent, and high-quality mental health services are culturally relevant, accessible, and well-utilized. We envision a community where youth and young adults feel safe, supported, and accepted.

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Project Safety Net Announcements

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month 

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month which includes National Suicide Prevention Week (September 5-11, 2021) and World Suicide Prevention Day (Friday, September 10). Project Safety Net (PSN) joins youth, communities, and organizations across the nation and world to raise suicide prevention awareness. We are excited to take the entire month to amplify resources and opportunities to get involved in youth suicide prevention and mental health promotion.   

We, alongside our partners, are highlighting California’s statewide Suicide Prevention 2021 Week theme of “Supportive Transitions: Reconnect, Reenter, Rebuild.” In a time of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and figuring out a new sense of normalcy, we can and must build a resilient community with and for our youth.  

We all play a role in suicide prevention, and our collective impact is powerful. This September, we encourage you to take one action to promote youth suicide prevention and mental wellness.  

Entire September 2021
PSN challenges you to take one action! See challenge card below:
PSN Take One Action – Sept 2021

FREE ONLINE 90-minute Suicide Prevention Training
Hosted in partnership with Santa Clara County Suicide Prevention Program
Sign up for
LivingWorks Start training course

PSN Kicks Off September 2021 Suicide Prevention Awareness Month!
Thursday, September 2, 2021, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Register:
https://psnsp2021.eventbrite.com

PSN Community Forum on 
Building a Resilient Community with Our Youth: Self-Care for the Supporters
Wednesday, September 22, 2021, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Register:
https://psnselfcare2021.eventbrite.com 

PSN Policy and Advocacy Community Event
The Power of Community: Shaping Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Policies 
Friday, September 24, 2021, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Register:
https://psnadvocacy2021.eventbrite.com

Find community events and activities hosted by PSN Partners here.

Thank you to the City of Palo Alto and the San Mateo County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services Office of Diversity & Equity (ODE) for sponsoring PSN’s September Suicide Prevention Awareness Month Campaign. 

Mental Health Matters! 

You are not alone. We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic environment has brought all of us many challenges and uncertainty. Please refer to our Mental Health Resources page.

PSN Stands in Solidarity

Highlights

Suicide in California – Data Trends in 2020, COVID Impact, and Prevention Strategies
On July 28, 2021, CA Department of Public Health presented webinar on California suicide data trends, pandemic’s impact to mental health, and evidence-based suicide prevention strategies, including to support youth. View the slide deck here.

2018 LGBTQ Youth Report
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation and University of Connecticut released the largest of its kind survey of more than 12,000 LGBTQ teenagers across the nation, revealing the persistent challenges so many of them face going about their daily lives at home, at school, and in their communities. View the LGBTQ Youth Report here.

Recently Released: Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vital Signs Report- “Suicide Rising Across the US”
Suicide rates have been rising in nearly every state, according to the latest Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  In 2016, nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older died by suicide.  Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death and just one of three leading causes that are on the rise.

Updated! HEARD Alliance Toolkit for Mental Health Promotion & Suicide Prevention K-12
In September, 2016 the State of California enacted into law the “Pupil Suicide Prevention Policies” requirement, AB2246. This Toolkit has been revised in order to support this law. It is meant to be used as a resource for schools as they implement their Pupil Suicide Prevention Policy.

The content of the Toolkit is drawn from State and National guidelines and from current research and recommendations regarding youth mental wellness and suicide prevention. The goal is to ensure that California schools can participate fully in their broader community’s effort to prevent youth suicide. Information about what schools can do to promote youth mental wellness before mental health concerns arise, how to recognize and respond to a mental health crisis, and how to support a school community after a suicide loss is included.  Click here to access the latest version of the toolkit. 

“13 Reasons Why” Resources & Information

Project Safety Net is pleased to offer the following digest of resources in response to the Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why.”

13 Reasons Why, Season 2
Santa Clara County Behavioral Health & Santa Clara County Office of Education “13 Reasons Why” Season 2 Notification Letter to Parents and Educators

Pre-Release Statement from Experts on the Upcoming Release of “13 Reasons Why,” Season 2

Press Release: International Coalition of Experts Issues an Alert Regarding the Release of “13 Reasons Why, Season 2”

13RW Work Group
An international coalition of leading experts in healthcare, mental health, suicide prevention, and education called the 13 RW Work Group came together to develop messaging and resources regarding “13 Reasons Why” for parents, educators, clinicians, youth and media to help guide young viewers through tough subject matter.  Please visit their website: www.13reasonswhytoolkit.org

Webinar- Responding to 13 Reasons Why: Recommendations for School Personnel
Suicide prevention experts have raised numerous concerns about the television program “13 Reasons Why.” The program depicts the struggles of an adolescent named Hannah who dies by suicide. Many viewers have been binge watching the program which can increase the intensity of their experience. This webinar outlines those concerns and provide practical information for how school personnel can respond to support students who have or are currently viewing the program and provide them with accurate information about suicide and sources of assistance.  Specific recommendations for parents and the appropriate ages for youth viewing the program are also shared. Webinar presenters include Scott Poland, Ed.D., professor at NSU’s College of Psychology, a nationally recognized expert on youth violence, suicide intervention, and self-injury and Kathy Espinoza, Assistant VP of Ergonomics and Safety at Kennan & Associates and principal architect of the Kennan SafeSchool and SafeColleges training program. Project Safety Net hosted a community viewing of the webinar on May 31, 2017. To access the complimentary webinar, click here.

Project Safety Net News

  • Palo Alto Community Survey: Because the Epi-Aid could not include new data collection in the field, Project Safety Net implemented a community survey in Palo Alto to better understand local perceptions around youth suicide and prevention, which they will share with all partners involved in the Epi-Aid process. The survey reached 1,825 individuals with 1,582 who successfully completed it. Of those who completed the survey, 1/3 were students and nearly 50% were adult residents.
  • Youth Conversations: PSN also partnered with the Palo Alto Unified School District and the City of Palo Alto to hold conversations with youth involved in suicide prevention activities, which will similarly be shared with all involved.
  • Youth Voice/Youth Advocacy:
    • Read Gunn High School’s The Oracle on their “Changing the Narrative” series that tells personal stories of strength, hope, healing and growth. Read Paly student and Campanile Lifestyle Editor, Aiva Petriceks’ article “Changing my narrative: discovering the value of counseling.”  Read an op-ed from a Palo Alto teen for Palo Alto OnlineGuest Opinion: Unmasking the truth — Beyond the stigma of mental illness.”
    • The documentary “Unmasked” created by Gunn and Paly students that explores teen mental health in Palo Alto has been chosen “Audience Choice Winner”  at the Student Filmmaker Awards.
    • Learn about Paly and Gunn High School’s peer support program Sources of Strength (SoS) and Paly’s LETS Bring Change 2 Mind, a student-led club initiative that allows all teens the opportunity to learn and explore more about mental health topics in a safe and supportive environment. Contact Jonathan Frecarri to get involved at jfrecceri@pausd.org. Read a past article on SoS from NPR on why it’s an effective peer support program.
  • Means Restriction: Learn about the City of Palo Alto’s “means restriction” efforts to limit access to the railroad tracks. Research has shown that “means restriction” is an important part of a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention. The safety improvements are being done in conjunction with Caltrain. Safety improvements include fence installation and enhancements, vegetation and brush removal, and the piloting of an intrusion camera detection system.  Read the latest research study from the Mineta Transportation Institute that reviewed current efforts of commuter railroads to reduce or prevent suicide on railways and discussed preventative activities affecting rail related suicides.

Featured Resources

  • How to help someone in crisis
    by Dr. Meg Durbin, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, and Dr. Shashank V. Joshi, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, on behalf of the executive committee of the HEARD Alliance.

Featured Websites for Teens

Outlet

Outlet

Outlet is an LGBTQQ Youth organization based in Mountain View, California. As the Peninsula’s only comprehensive LGBTQQ Youth organization, including bilingual Spanish language services, they work with local communities to support and empower LGBTQQ Youth.

ReachOut.com

Reach Out is run by the Inspire USA Foundation.  Inspire’s mission is to help millions of young people lead happier lives.

ACS

Adolescent Counseling Services empowers teens and their families in our community to realize their emotional and social potential through counseling and preventive education.

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the leading National organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.