CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. — Cedar Springs School District is responding to recent suicides in their district by investing in mental health services.
Three students in the district died by suicide in the 2016-17 school year.
And to combat that "traumatic problem," Scott Smith, the superintendent says, they have invested more than $1 million to add child life specialists to their staff.
"As we've found over time, counselors are not enough," he said. "So we've looked to diversify our support staff by bringing in child life specialists who can help students navigate the turbulent waters they're facing."
Such as social media pressures. He says that research shows a significant increase in social media pressures among students.
"[It] causes students to lose hope and are at times difficult - if not impossible - to come back from," he said.
He says those pressures are getting worse, but that's why student suicide prevention is their key focus.
The district has trained more than 100 teachers in how to spot signs of stress or depression in students to increase the capacity of their entire staff, he said.
He hopes that students will see teachers as being a "resource for them when they feel like they don't have any other options," he said.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death in Michigan for people between the ages of 10 and 24, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
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