Priority Next Steps

  1. Create an effective and sustainable structure for PSN that maximizes the tremendous resources in the Palo Alto community for the planning and implementation of effective strategies for “Youth Well-Being.”
    • Assign a senior level position in PAUSD and the City to support the implementation of PSN strategies.
    • Apply for grant funding to complement the $50,000 SERV grant awarded for the PSN efforts in April 2010.
    • Identify a PSN coordinator to further develop PSN strategies and the implementation plan.
  2. Implement the 41 developmental assets and philosophy in the School District, City, and community agencies for a common vision and language for youth and teen well-being.
  3. Train all School District staff and youth-serving agencies to be Gatekeepers using Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) or related program.
  4. Adopt a comprehensive K-12 health education curriculum that includes a strong social-emotional, mental health component as described in the “Health Education Content Standards for California Public Schools” of the California Department of Education.
  5. Develop a secondary school system of trained peer “counselors” and provide facilitated peer support groups which have careful faculty oversight.
  6. Continue an ongoing educational campaign and complementary strategies to reduce the stigma around mental health and specifically, mental illness.
  7. Develop a systematic feedback loop from students to adults about their needs.
  8. Reduce the lethal means of self-harm by supporting Track-Watch for the 2010-11 school year.
  9. Complete the analysis of student deaths by suicide and suicide attempts to better inform prevention strategies.
  10. Identify district and community personnel who will be effective spokespersons for their organization and the health and wellness of youth and teens.
  11. Implement an effective district-wide program to educate, identify and respond to bullying on each school site.
  12. Enhance counseling opportunities through existing systems and extend utilization of low-cost or volunteer mental health professional services in the community.
  13. Expand the PSN Website to provide information to the community regarding school student support efforts and resources available to parents and students.
  14. Gather data to track depression and suicide ideation and attempts among the student population. Consider the inclusion of previous California Healthy Kids Survey questions that relate to depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts.
  15. Develop a comprehensive crisis protocol to limit the negative effects of a crisis and increase the chance of positive outcomes for those involved. Such a plan should include procedures for addressing students who try to harm themselves as well as those who are contemplating it. The protocol should also provide guidance for the role of individual teachers and school mental health professionals in identifying and responding to potential suicidal or violent behavior in students, and how to respond when actual violence takes place.
  16. Provide better, advanced education for parents who experience a mental health crisis in their family, so that they know what resources are available to support them and their children during and after a crisis.
  17. Engage youth in community service activities that promote increased awareness of the needs of their community and the development of individual community service, self-efficacy and positive emotional and behavioral health.