National Suicide Screening Program Ending In Camanche - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

National Suicide Screening Program Ending In Camanche

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A suicide screening program just getting started at Camanche Middle School will shut down in two weeks.

The program is run out of Columbia University in New York.

Just this week, it called Teen Screen affiliates across the country to let them know the private donation that's funded this program is ending.

Teen Screen will shut down on December 14.

Leaving five school districts in Clinton County looking for a new option.

"It's essential for us to be involved in our entire community to be providing these services to our middle school students, it's a way to show the community we are addressing the issue of suicide," says Camanche Middle School Principal Justin Shaffer.

He says Teen Screen is well received in his school. 95 parents signed their seventh and eighth graders up to be screened earlier this month. Shaffer says that number shows Camanche is serious about this sensitive issue.

"There have been a large number of Camanche individuals whether they've been adults or kids that have chosen to commit suicide and we want to intervene as soon as possible," says Shaffer.

About half the students will get through the Teen Screen program before it shuts down. The rest will have to wait until a new option can be found. Camanche schools At-Risk Coordinator Josh Davis says it's too important a test to let go,

"your son or daughter gets tested for hearing or vision, but the mental side doesn't always get to the whole populations."

"All of us partners that have been offering this throughout the United States can longer implement the program," says Teen Screen coordinator Jocelyn Meyer.

She says it's frustrating to lose a valuable program. Mental illness hits young people early.

"Most of them, their onset occurs in the teenage years," says Meyer.

She says Bridgeview Mental Health Clinic is developing it's own screening program.

"This is absolutely crucial that we don't let mental health screening fall by the way side."

A situation Shaffer says the school district won't let happen.

"We need to be proactive rather than reactive, too many times when we're dealing with these situations, we're reacting," says Shaffer.

Camanche is not the only school district affected by Teen Screen's shutdown.

Calamus Wheatland will hold off on screening its kids until a new program is developed.

Three other schools in Clinton County will also look for a new program after the December 14th closure date.

Bridgeview Mental Health Center says it's planning to develop its own screening program.

It hopes to have its own test written and ready to use by January.

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