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April 21, 2014 Superintendent’s Day Conference School Counseling Presentation By Sara Henry School Counselor LaFargeville Central School District.

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Presentation on theme: "April 21, 2014 Superintendent’s Day Conference School Counseling Presentation By Sara Henry School Counselor LaFargeville Central School District."— Presentation transcript:

1 April 21, 2014 Superintendent’s Day Conference School Counseling Presentation By Sara Henry School Counselor LaFargeville Central School District

2  What does she do?  What is new in NYS School Counseling  LCS Stats to Share  Students in Crisis  Learn to identify, approach and refer students who are at risk for suicide or psychological distress  Training program


4 (Professional) School Counselor Trained, certified educators who uphold ethical and professional standards to design, implement, manage & evaluate comprehensive, developmental, results-based school counseling programs that promote & enhance student success Programs should be focused on student outcomes & preventative in design Designed to help ALL students develop competencies in academic achievement, person and social development and career planning Recommendation that 80% time is spent in direct or indirect services to students w/ recommended ratio of 250:1 Counselors as leaders, advocates and collaborators Effectiveness uses data to determine how students are different as a result of the program

5 Originally coined in early 20 th century as vocational guidance counselors / 50’s – 60’s greater push to push students into careers and off to college Idea that students needed help w/ personal or social issues was not considered as a guidance counselor’s role Society became more complex, counselors needed to do much more than “guide” Negative view of “guidance” developed


7 Lens 1: Standards & Accountability ~Mandated PK-12 SC with case load ratios ~Clearly defined roles based upon ASCA model ~Centralized NYS regional support and info portal Lens 2: Administrative & Community Support ~Advisory committees with all stakeholders ~Examine educational funding formulas ~Create task force for SC program reviews Lens 3: Curriculum & Instructional ~Improve & standardize counselor ed programs ~NYS clearing house of data for evidence-based exemplary programs Lens 4: Professional Development ~Relevant, current prof. dev (175 h every 5 yrs) ~Mandated training for Admin certification re: ASCA model

8 Regular Work Hours

9 Outside of regular day

10 7/1/13 – 12/31/13 Saw 42 students for personal counseling issues 4 individuals logged over 200 min (3 h) 3 individuals logged between 400 – 500+ min (> 8hr) 7/1/13 – 4/11/14 23 suicidal ideation referrals/ threats ***hospitalizations ***referrals

11 Suicide is the 3 rd leading cause of death between the ages of 10-19 16 % seriously consider suicide (16 % of 260 =41) 12 % have made a plan (12 % of 260 =31) 6 % have attempted (6 % of 260 = 15) There are much higher rates of suicides in rural areas (greater access to lethal means – 60 % are gun- related)

12 Very few suicides or attempts actually happen in school, but many students will exhibit warning signs, that if recognized and acted upon, could prevent a tragedy As a teacher or school staff member, you have day-to-day contact with many students whom have problems that could result in death or serious injury by their own hand. You are therefore well-positioned to observe students’ behaviors and act when you suspect that a student may be at risk of self harm This makes most of us uncomfortable So…. How do we help



15 An attempt to solve a problem of intense emotional pain with impaired problem-solving skills (an alternative to a seemingly unsolvable problem) Crisis thinking impairs problem solving A suicidal person is often ambivalent Suicidal choice has an irrational component Suicide is a form of communication Video: pp=desktop pp=desktop





20 Thwarted Belongingness (Isolation, social disconnection to something larger than oneself) “I was a mistake” “I never should have been born” We are hardwired to be in relationships with others Perceived Burdensomeness “I cause trouble for my friends or family” “I am worth more dead to the people that love me than I am alive” Loss of sense of purpose

21 Capacity for Suicide (know-how & fearlessness, despite pain involved) “I know how to access lethal means” “ I am not afraid to die” Have often practiced (a lot) ~ Fearlessness acquired through kind of conditioning Tolerance of repeated, painful physical trauma(disinhibits a person form the fear of pain and death associated with suicide) Repeated rehearsal of disturbing or suicidal thoughts/behaviors Which reduce initial emotional / physical impact over time Have deadened the “fight or flight” mechanism (e.g., substances) – overcome the instinct for self-preservation


23 Mental, alcohol, or substance use disorders History of trauma or abuse Past suicide attempt(s) or family history of suicide* Recent loss events (relationship, status, face)- often a triggering event Trauma Easy access to lethal means Lack of social supports Stigma associated with help-seeking behavior Barriers to accessing treatment Contagion / Family History Depression (lazy, stupid, bad, crazy)

24 Hopeless, helpless, sad, burdensomeness Physical or emotional pain Feeling victimized, humiliated, worthless Needing to escape Loss of interests, energy, appetite, sleep Problems w/ decision-making, relationships Changes in behavior – restless, irritable, RECKLESS, isolation, drug use, disobedience Expressions of death or suicide in writings or art or speech (sometimes these are just expressions) Sudden deterioration in academic performance Self-mutilation to cope with emotional pain After the fact: obvious

25 Fixation with death or violence Unhealthy peer relationships (circle of friends dramatically changes for no apparent reason) Volatile mood swings Involvement in abusive relationships Risk-taking behaviors Signs of an eating disorder Difficulty in adjusting to gender identity Bullying Neglecting appearance or hygiene

26 “Aww, life’s not so bad…. You don’t really want to kill yourself (nothing worse than having your feelings denied) It will get better You have been through much worse Oh, you are young Don’t ask them why they want to die…. Will make them angry Successful suicide (implies accomplishment) Commit Suicide (pejorative) Instead: say Completed Suicide

27 What is going on in your life that is so bad that you want to kill yourself (use open-ended questions) Tell me more… Connect with the student and let them know that you don’t pretend to know what they are going through or that you have all the answers but you care about them and want them to be safe. Ask questions in ways that are not stigmatizing Refer them to help as soon as possible, document and support them Remember: most kids want an adult to take charge for them (many have adults in their life who have abdicated this responsibility) Present in terms of coping rather than problem-solving Encourage resiliency and protective factors

28 “You told me reasons you want to die, now tell me reasons that might be reasons to live: “Together, we can try to manage this” “I care about you, and want to help you” “If you had a magic power to change something in your life, what would it be” (if they can’t answer, they have lost their imagination….. truly in crisis) Use concrete metaphors (when catastrophizing the ability to think abstractly is diminished) Assess desire, intent, and level of suicidal behavior Tell us if you are dealing with suicide-related curriculum Tell us when students self-disclose Recognize at-risk individuals Centralized reporting: School Counselor Alert us to indicators on social media – take a picture


30 Respect & acceptance for differences School connectedness Academic success Opportunities to contribute Youth development Mentoring


32 This is a video I created as a Sources of Strength co- advisor in an attempt to model the types of stories our student leaders could share during their classroom presentations. I was given the task of highlighting Mental Health and Medical Access as my story. Sabrina is a fictional character whom I created as a vignette of many of the emotions and concerns I have heard from students over the past 11 years in my counseling office

33 Evidence of Domain 4 Print completion certificate

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