Katy Blakey

Keller ISD to Host Suicide Prevention Forum, Launches New Screening Test for Students

Inside Keller High School, students and district officials are creating a conversation about mental health.

Senior Austin Barton volunteers to be a listening ear for classmates.

"I've had people come to me about issues I had no idea they were facing," Barton said.

He is one of a few students who went through specialized suicide prevention training to learn how to recognize and help fellow students in need.

"If you have an issue and you know a student is there to support you, it gives you a big sense of camaraderie," Barton said. "It's OK to ask for help because everybody at some point is going to need it."

Marcene Weatherall is the director of counseling intervention services for Keller ISD and said getting students involved in suicide prevention is critical.

"Friends are usually who people want to go to first," Weatherall said.

It's one way the district is focusing on mental health.

"We see a lot of kids who just don’'t know how to relate and be OK with their emotions and cope with their emotions," Weatherall said.

It's why the district is launching a new suicide screening process. All sixth, seventh, ninth and 11th grad students will watch a video produced by staff and students, then answer a questionnaire with direct questions regarding their mental health.

The hope is the screening and forum will generate conversation and help destigmatize mental illness and could save a student's life.

Keller ISD's suicide awareness night and community forum happens Monday night at 6:30 p.m. at the district's Education Center Annex building on Old Denton Road.

Parents will be able to learn more about the new suicide screening process and hear from mental health experts. 

If you or someone you know ever needs help, it is available 24/7 on the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text the crisis text line by texting "TALK" to 741-741.

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