BCSD awarded $12,500 for suicide prevention efforts

Press Release:

Batavia City School District is proud to announce it has received a $12,500 Pediatric Suicide Prevention Community Grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help identify and address gaps in youth suicide prevention services in the Batavia community.

Batavia City School District will use funds from the grant to expand its “Sources of Strength” program, which is designed to harness the power of peer social networks to change unhealthy norms and culture, ultimately preventing suicide, bullying, and substance abuse. The mission of Sources of Strength is to prevent suicide by increasing help-seeking behaviors and promoting connections between peers and caring adults.

BCSD’s Sources of Strength program works monthly with the Batavia High School student body through proactive campaigns, works alongside community agencies to bridge the connection between school and community, and helps build additional connections for students who may need support. Together, BCSD encourages Sources of Strength students to be leaders and mental health ambassadors.

“We’re incredibly proud and grateful to have received this grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics,” said Superintendent Jason Smith. “These funds will add significant resources to our Sources of Strength program and allow us to continue to do the important and necessary work to support the mental health needs of students across BCSD.”

“Securing this grant was a collaborative process across our Batavia community,” said Community Schools Coordinator Julia Rogers. “It’s essential that we take a community-based approach toward suicide prevention and mental health, and I would like to thank those who were instrumental in supporting our efforts, including Lynda Battaglia, Genesee Director of Mental Health & Community Services; Sue Gagne, Suicide Prevention Coalition of Genesee County; Sherry Crumity, Rose Howard, and Heidi Meides-Judge from BCSD; and the BCSD Community Schools Integrated Supports Committee.” 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, suicide and suicidal behavior among youth and young adults is a major public health crisis. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10-24 in the United States, and rates have been rising for decades. Suicide affects all populations: youth of any race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or community may be at risk for suicide. However, systemic inequities and social determinants of health have led to significant disparities in suicide rates, risk, and care for youth across cultures and communities. Equitable solutions are needed to support youth at risk for suicide and to address the population-level risk and protective factors that impact youth mental health.  

Suicide is complex and tragic, but often preventable. To advance prevention efforts, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to create the Blueprint for Youth Suicide Prevention. The Blueprint is an educational resource that outlines clinical pathways, community partnerships, and policy strategies to better identify and support youth at risk for suicide.

This small grant was awarded as part of the first-ever AAP Youth Suicide Prevention Community Grants Program, made possible with funds from Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. This program will provide small grants to city and county health departments and/or community coalitions to identify and address gaps in youth suicide prevention services in their communities using best practices and/or tools from the AAP Blueprint in addition to creating or continuing partnerships with local pediatric practices.

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