RAYMOND — Superintendent Tina McCoy and Director of Student Behavioral Health Jessica Caron are pleased to announce the Raymond School District has partnered with local and state organizations to help provide additional behavioral and mental health support for students in crisis.
Recently, Raymond behavioral health staff have seen an increased rate of behavioral health crises within schools and decided to join with three community partners (the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) New Hampshire, Raymond Coalition for Youth and Seacoast Mental Health Center, Inc.) to help bolster the policies and procedures in place to support students in need.
Over the last nine months, members from the four groups have worked together to identify and train crisis teams at all Raymond schools and develop resources that can be used to help support students and shared with families.
After working with the community partners, the district created school-specific informational brochures, which include warning signs and support services, so families can connect their students with those who can best support them while at school:
- Lamprey River At-Risk Brochure
- Iber Holmes Gove Middle School At-Risk Brochure
- Raymond High School At-Risk Brochure
These brochures will be provided to students and be available upon request.
By identifying risk through the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS), Raymond’s behavioral health team will be using a consistent lens and language when developing a response to the crisis. With parent/guardian consent and authorization, outcomes of the tool can be shared directly with Seacoast Mental Health, Inc., who will then be able to help determine if a student is in need of additional support through telehealth or in the office, or if they should be evaluated at a hospital emergency room.
“It was a real pleasure to train the Raymond School system.” said Dennis Walker, the Director of Emergency Services Seacoast Mental Health Center, Inc. “They are joining an increasing number of schools utilizing this evidenced based suicide screen — the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale. As in many other systems around the country, I believe that if we put Columbia in the hands of the police, schools and primary care providers, it can get those people in crisis the assistance that they need and possibly prevent tragedy.”
Raymond behavioral health staff also have a direct email address to the Emergency Services Team at Seacoast Mental Health, Inc. for in the moment consultations as well, who will help provide an assessment, crisis intervention and stabilization services, and be able to refer the patient to all the Center’s programs and other community resources.
District staff will also be working with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to help guide and shape the program.
“Raymond School District, with all crisis response team members K-12, to include school nurses, has done due diligence in developing clear, consistent protocols based on national best practices in recognizing and responding to any student at risk for suicide,” said Ann Duckless, the community educator and prevention specialist at NAMI. “Furthermore, they have also worked hard at destigmatizing and de-shaming issues of mental health and suicide risk in the language they have used for these protocols, as well as in the communication measures they have created to address these issues as medical conditions that can be effectively treated, just as with physical illnesses.”
The Raymond Coalition for Youth continues to be instrumental in strengthening the district’s prevention efforts and promoting healthy youth development. With their longstanding focus on the Raymond community and engagement of youth to drive programming, they are vital to the sustainability efforts. Raymond Coalition for Youth will continue to support the district and community through training on the national best practice program Connect: Prevention and Intervention.
“The Raymond Coalition For Youth has been dedicated to suicide prevention in our community since 2005 when we started our partnership with NAMI and the Raymond School District to offer Connect Suicide prevention trainings,” RCYF Executive Director Celeste Clark said. “We look forward to continuing these training sessions with staff, youth and community members to help recognize the warning signs of someone at risk and connecting them to the resources in our community that offer support and help.”
Going forward, staff will be working on a 3-5 year training plan for induction and refresher training for all district staff.
“I am beyond proud of the work the Behavioral Health team has done to ensure our students are supported and able to receive the help they need,” Superintendent Tina McCoy said. “Thank you to our community partners for helping us to grow and refine our support services for students, especially during these challenging times.”