Mental health experts offer advice at SPS suicide prevention symposium

On Thursday, the Spokane Public Schools hosted a suicide prevention symposium at North Central High School.

The symposium featured a resource fair to help connect people with organizations dedicated to helping those suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts, self-harm and other mental health issues.

A panel of eight experts also answered questions and offered advice on how to talk to kids about suicide. The panel also explained the warning signs of suicide: withdrawn, increased agitation and changes in sleep/eating.

“We need to really trust our kids and if they are communicating that they are sad, that they are hopeless and they are thinking of suicide we need to take that seriously,” said Chris Moore, with Spokane Public Schools.

The panel of experts also included a high school student, behavior/mental health counselors, and a therapist from Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Brooke Snyder, an intern counselor with Spokane Public Schools, said she attended the symposium to better be able to help students suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts.

“It’s pretty huge, we are seeing it all the way down to elementary and its heartbreaking,” said Snyder. “We’re seeing it more from a position that kids feel really isolated.”

Spokane Public Schools hopes by talking about suicide and ways to prevent it, parents and kids won’t feel lonely.

“We need to come together as a community and talking about mental health using the word mental illness and not worrying about offending someone because we have physical health, we need to be able to talk about mental health,” said Moore.

If you or someone you know is showing signs of suicide, text 741741- a national crisis line – where mental health professionals are available to help 24/7.