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CDSBEO takes lead on sensitive issue

The subject of teen suicide is gainingmore attention in both the media and the com- munity because of tragic incidents through- out Canada and other nations, where young people have taken their own lives as a result of depression, bullying or for other reasons. In EasternOntario, several school districts

have come together to develop a common plan to tackle the subject and help save young lives before they are lost. The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) took the lead on this sensitive issue through a joint com- mittee of community partners.The group has

developed the Community Suicide Preven- tion, Intervention and Risk Review Protocol (SPIRR). The protocol aims at helping both teens and children in crisis, who face per- sonal, social and/or family situations that may drive them to consider suicide as either a logical or their only option. Trudy Rook, a behaviour crisis consultant, andMichelle Neville, amental health expert, presented details of the new protocol dur- ing the Feb. 3 CDSBEO board meeting. The protocol is meant to help school boards and other community and social agencies work together to both identify and help students who may be at risk of suicide. “This protocol helps to define howwe can communicate and share relevant informa- tion,” Rook told trustees. “Communication is a key piece of the protocol, and one which helps to ensure adequate support to those in crisis, as well as sufficient follow-up and after-care.” Neville noted that the protocol outlines a number of “risk alerts and identifiers” that can help teachers, community workers, and others identify a child or youth who may be at risk of suicidal behaviour, and also provides guidelines for dealing with such a child in a positive and supportive way. “The protocol outlines the components of prevention, including education and trai- ning,” stated Neville, “intervention guide- lines, and postvention (intervention) plans. The protocol emphasizes making sure staff, both administrative and teaching, can

take part in specialized training programs like SafeTALK or Applied Suicide Interven- tion Skills Training (ASIST). The CDSBEO has already made these training programs available throughout the district, with all secondary school teachers and other staff receiving SafeTALK, while 143 district staff, including administration, teachers, school chaplains, and others have taken the ASIST program. The new SPIRR protocol will work in concert with the Violence Threat Risk As- sessment protocol (VTRA) that the CDSBEO developed to both deal with and where pos- sible eliminate threats of violence in district schools. The CDSBEO is working on developing the urgent care component for its SPIRR application. Through partnerships with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) inOttawa and Kingston’s Hôtel Dieu Hospital, students facing crisis in the CDS- BEO region can get direct referrals from the board to programs available through either hospitals, which will help themwork through their problems or situations along with post- crisis intervention support. Official signing of the SPIRR protocol is scheduled for March 31 at the CDSBEO’s Kemptville office. Representatives for the school district and other community partners, including children’s mental health services, local and regional hospitals, police, children’s aid groups, and neighbouring school districts, will attend.

Collision on Highway 34

The Hawkesbury OPPDetachment was called to a crash onHighway 34 near Greenlane Road. A Honda Civic was heading northbound on Highway 34 when, for unknown reasons, the vehicle hit a Kubota tractor traveling in the opposite direction.The driver of the Honda Civic, a 74-year-old Hawkesbury resident, sustained life-threatening injuries andwas transported to hospital. “He is still in critical condition,” said Constable Pierre Dubois on Tuesday. “We have no other results at this time.” The driver of the tractor, a 24-year-old Champlain resident, sustainedminor injuries. Technical Traffic Collision Investigators were dispatched to the scene of the collision Highway 34 was closed for several hours. The investigation is ongoing. Police are asking witnesses of the collision or persons with information on the matter to contact Constable Marc- André Desjardins at 613-632-2729 or 1-888-310-1122. 613 632-2114 1 888 751-2617 1125, rue Tupper, Hawkesbury

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