OGDEN -- Eileen Nicholas has gone on one too many suicide calls as the teacher specialist over student and family services.
She and other district officials want to do everything in their power to eliminate the problem, and they are teaming up with the state to offer teachers and parents suicide-
The first hour of the training was held recently at Ben Lomond High School. It is now state law for all teachers to have the two-hour training as part of recertification, which is required every five years, but Nicholas thinks that is too much of a gap.
"We can't wait. This is an issue we have to deal with," Nicholas said.
She is hoping to hold the second hour as a panel discussion. While the training is for teachers and educators, the district also wants to invite parents.
"They need to understand how many different places there are in the community they can go for help," Nicholas said.
At the training, video clips developed by the state were shown, giving warning signs and showing teens talking about how serious the warning signs of suicide are.
Specialists in the county also talked to the crowd about available help in the community.
Kristy Jones works in the behavioral unit for Intermountain Healthcare and sits on the new Weber County suicide task force, called Northern Utah Hope. That group provides help and resources to those in a suicidal crisis and to family and friends of those in suicidal crisis.
"We have to understand that it has to be OK to talk about depression, sadness and suicide," she said. "We need to know that everyone has something to give."
Teachers were told they often see the warning signs of suicide in teens because they have a lot of personal contact with students. One teacher asked how students could get help or medications if they can't afford it. Jones explained that programs are available and teachers can contact Weber Human Services or any of the hotlines where help can be found.
Stephanie Stoneking is a teacher at Ben Lomond High. She wanted to take advantage of the training as soon as she heard about it. She is a special-education teacher and works with the emotionally disturbed. "This is all great stuff," she said of the training.
She admitted she already knew much of it, but said it is always good to have a refresher and a reminder of where to turn if her students are in crisis. She also likes the idea of giving more information to parents.
"Teenagers are hard, and they are all different," Stoneking said. "Kids get home and are more relaxed, and they don't always talk to their parents."
She sees that sometimes teachers have a different perspective. Students can have bad days and can be acting up, or it can be something more. Stoneking thinks training teachers to pick up on those subtle differences is vital.
Nicholas agreed. She said teens are facing some serious issues in their lives, and the more people who can be involved and be there for them, the better.
Nicholas hopes to have another training session for parents, educators and teachers later this fall or in the first part of 2014. For more information on the N.U. Hope suicide task force, visit www.webercoaltion.nuhope.html.
There will also be a suicide prevention town hall meeting in February.