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Libby Schools hosting family workshop Aug. 23

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
The Western News | August 19, 2022 7:00 AM

A trio of Lincoln County entities are teaming up in an effort to strengthen its families.

The Libby School District, Spring Up Libby and Lincoln County Unite for Youth are hosting a workshop next week at the Libby Middle High School.

It will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23. It will also include dessert.

According to Libby Public Schools Superintendent Ron Goodman, the workshop is partly in response to the issue of teen suicide.

“We think the workshop can help families help themselves and their children as kids transition into their teen years,” Goodman said.

The Search Institute’s Strengthening Families workshop is meant to help families build on their strengths to encourage, support and expand possibilities for your child to learn, grow and thrive.

Part of the workshop is learning five ways parenting adults can help kids, including expressing care, challenging growth, providing support, expanding possibilities and sharing power.

The workshop will include resources and supports for building and strengthening relationships that matter most to kids.

Staff at Libby Public Schools had training last year to help them identify at-risk individuals. It came on the heels of a suicide cluster in the Flathead Valley in which eight teenagers took their lives in 16 months.

According to an October 2021 story in The Western News, at least one Libby High School student committed suicide.

Figures from a 2016 Lincoln County Community Health Assessment revealed that alcohol and substance abuse, mental health, tobacco use and suicide/self harm were considered the top five health issues by people who responded to the survey.

For the past 30 years, Montana has ranked among the top five states nationwide for suicide rates among all age groups, according to a statement by Karl Rosston, suicide prevention coordinator for th state Department of Public Health and Human Services. Among Montana youth aged 11 to 17, the suicide rate was 11 per 100,000 from 2008 to 2019 or more than double the national rate for the same age group.

Lincoln County had the fourth-highest age-adjusted suicide rate in the state at 34.2 victims per 100,0000 residents, according to numbers compiled from 2009 to 2018 by DPHHS. At least one Libby High School student committed suicide in the past year.

Anyone who feels suicidal can receive help from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the TrevorLifeline for LGBTQ+ individuals at 1-866-488-7386, or Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.

You can also text “start” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, the Trevor Lifeline at 678-678 or the Veterans Crisis Line at 838-255. Web chats are available at crisischat.org, www.thetrevorproject.org or www.veteranscrisisline.net.