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Counselor education program hosts multi-agency suicide prevention summit

School representatives worked together to discuss suicide prevention strategies.

On September 7, 2017 Georgia Southern University’s counselor education program hosted the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) 2017 Suicide Prevention Summit.

The summit, titled “Understanding Data and Prevention Strategies for Addressing Suicide Deaths Among Children Ages 10-17,” is a multi-agency collaboration bringing together the GaDOE, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Child Fatality Review Board and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

The invitation-only summit reaches out to school systems who have experienced one or more school-aged suicides in the past five years. For each school, several members of the student support and/or site leadership team including counselors, social workers, school psychologists, school nurses and administration were invited to the event. This year, the Department of Education partnered with Georgia Southern to not only host the summit, but to open up the event to currently enrolled College of Education (COE) students.

COE students attended sessions and were debriefed with Department of Education leadership.

John Holt, graduate student in the counselor education program, explained that the information gained at the summit was invaluable for his future profession.

“Attending the Suicide Prevention Summit was a great experience for me because it brought in a new perspective of learning that I will always have moving forward through the clinical mental health program at Georgia Southern,” Holt said. “Sitting in with the school members first-hand, [they] answered all of my questions thoroughly, breaking down step-by-step how they would implement different techniques if faced with a variety of situations.”

Counselor Education Graduate Student Renae Kibler also attended and stressed the importance of suicide education.

“Suicide prevention should be incorporated in trauma-informed care across all mental health disciplines,” she explained. “It is real, prevalent, and might show up when we least expect it. The importance of preparation and accurate resources is paramount to preventative interventions.”

The summit was coordinated by Richard Cleveland, Ph.D., assistant professor of counselor education and Department of Leadership, Technology and Human Development Chair Beth Durodoye, Ed.D.

The GaDOE offers multiple resources on suicide prevention. Visit for more information.


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