Local high school fights againt mental health with exclusive training

SPRINGFIELD,Mo.-- Suicide rates continue to rise in Missouri. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department says Springfield continues to be above both state and county averages.

All the while suicide rates in all of Greene County are higher than the national average.

In a recent survey, 12 and a half percent of local students from 6th through 12th grade admitted to planning their suicide. While six point seven percent actually attempted to take their own lives.

Amy Moran has been a school counselor for nearly two decades. She’s seen a lot, but says there is one thing that never gets any easier.

“Is dealing with suicide, and the loss of students, they don’t tell you when you become a counselor that you’re going to lose kids and I remember my first year, I lost two," said Moran.

Throughout her career she says she has watched the district change for the best.

At Kickapoo high school, they recently began training students on Mental Health First Aid, through Lady Gaga's born this way foundation.

Counselor Mavie Busboom says it’s key as they bring in new ways to detect signs and head off suicide.

“If a student has a problem who do they talk to first?," stated Busboom. "Typically a friend, and so we need to are these students with the information they need to know how to help their friend.”

Asking questions like "are you thinking about killing yourself?" Or "are you thinking about suicide?"

Through an intensive all day course, Busboom says they learn everything from signs and symptoms, to what to do during crisis and who to speak to next.

Kickapoo senior Drew Voris, has taken the training himself, and has learned a great deal.

“We had a peer commit suicide," said Voris. "To be able to kind of as all of us understand more about mental health disorders and mental health crisis. To be able to understand that, I think it’s really helpful.”

Kickapoo is one of eight schools in the country that's been able to pilot this program, funded through the National Council for behavioral health and Lady Gaga's born this way foundation.

Right now only 10th graders are being trained, but they're hoping to have the entire school trained as the program progresses.