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Schools Respond to Suicide Increase

Corvallis School DistrictCORVALLIS, Ore. – The Corvallis School District says suicide rates are higher than usual this year, so it is teaming up with community groups to offer free counseling services during Spring Break.

The school district is working with a half-dozen community groups to offer counseling services not only to try to prevent future tragedies, but to also encourage students and their families who are still suffering from past events to seek help.

Clay Higgins, the Chief Operating Officer at the Corvallis Boys and Girls Club says he and other organizations met with the school district last week.

“There have been a number of suicides within the last six months,” he said. “Between the local schools as well as OSU, seven have completed suicides.”

The statistics Higgins say are not only worrisome for the district, but for the community as a whole.

“We discussed long term and short term concerns so we can try to do something to help,” he said. “And short term, the concern is that it’s Spring Break. There are kids within the last few weeks who have started having discussions at school about the most recent suicide, but now school’s closed.”

Schools are closed until Monday, and Higgins says the district wants to make sure all kids and parents who want to speak with counselors are able to do so. Usually counselors are available during school hours, but the break is putting a hold on those services.

“Benton County is providing the counselors; we’re providing the space,” Higgins said.

The Boys and Girls Club is partnering with Good Samaritan Church, Jackson Street Youth Shelter, Yes House, CSC Youth House, and Pastoral Counseling Center all week to offer counseling services. The Boys and Girls Club says it is important to be able to make kids feel welcome and comfortable.

“They can come here and play basketball or video games or just hang out, and then they can also talk to someone,” Higgins said. “So it’s not like it’s a special place they have to go or feel like they have to go to a special place in order to ask for help.”

Speaking with a counselor is free and confidential. The Boys and Girls Club will also open its Teen Center all week for teens for free, even if they are not members of the club. For a list of counseling times and locations, click here.

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