New program aims to reach younger kids for suicide prevention
HELENA – A new program in East Helena Public Schools is hoping to prevent youth suicide by starting education much sooner.
The program is called the Good Behavior Game by Paxis Institute and was made possible by grants from American Chemet and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana totaling $15,000.
All East Helena teachers in grades kindergarten through third grade have been trained for the new program.
The Paxis Institute website says the Good Behavior Game is not a classroom behavior program, but rather a way to integrate cognitive, emotional and behavioral skills throughout any part of the school day.
Ron Whitmoyer, superintendent of East Helena Public schools, said students will be given situational problems that may occur during school and will role play how to work out issues positively.
“You try to reach out to them early they build that resiliency and ability to deal with real life situations through early practice. We love public education because it gives kids a chance to be a melting pot and interact in so many different situations,” said Whitmoyer.
“We have this bravado in Montana that when something is wrong we tend to pull our boot straps up rub some dirt on it…and that doesn’t work with mental illness it’s really important to break down that stigma,” said John Doran, Divisional VP of External Affairs & Chief of Staff BCBS of Montana.
The Lewis and Clark library hosted a discussion on suicide prevention Wednesday night and will continue Thursday.
The meeting on Thursday begins at 3 p.m.
Walking into Erin Van Dyke’s kindergarten class at Bellview Elementary in Ashland when it’s time to do a quiet activity, the first thing a visitor might wonder is how the room of about 20 children is so quiet.
Schools in the Rogue Valley are taking part in a program designed to help the students, as well as the community, thrive. The Pax game aims to promote peace, productivity, health, and happiness.
Fads sweep education like teenage fashions and often change with a new administrator or with the last visit to a vendors’ table at a conference. Imagine if your child’s doctor made decisions based on fads. Doctors and healing arts professionals are supposed to make decisions based on the best peer-reviewed, replicated science available. Most of that science is freely available at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (www.pubmed.gov).
A new era of public schooling is coming to some parts of New Mexico, one that holds hope that from kinder, more humane classrooms come children less likely to turn to suicide, risky behavior or drugs.