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Bethel School District launches new suicide prevention program

"This is going to be amazing. It's going to create something so new, so positive," said Misty Griesi, an English teacher at Willamette High School.

Posted: Jan 17, 2019 6:46 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- A new suicide prevention program is hitting the hallways of some Eugene schools this month, and it's designed to have students help students.

It's called Sources of Strength, and it's a universal, evidence-based suicide prevention program.

"It's got to be evidence based, clearly researched and knowing this is an effective plan," said Brooke Cottle, director of the Bethel Health Center. "This is the way we can support our kids and make them more resilient." 

The program starts with training adult advisers. Around 60 Bethel staff members participated in a training event at Bethesda Lutheran Church on Thursday. Then, the adult advisers recruit and train peer leaders.

Those students help spread messages of hope, help and strength at their schools. Forty students from Willamette and Kalapuya high schools will begin peer leader training on Friday.

"This is going to be amazing," said Misty Griesi, an English teacher at Willamette. "It's going to create something so new, so positive."

Griesi also helped with the training on Thursday. She's been teaching at Willamette for 15 years and said this program will change lives.

"There's been a lot of hard times in Bethel and across the country," Griesi said. "I really think this is something we need in order to build up our support systems and help kids before it's too late."

This program will start at Willamette and Kalapuya this month and eventually will be implemented in all of Bethel's high schools and middle schools.

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