Brochure on suicide response earns recognition

'Giving Communities Help and Hope' may hold lessons for other towns, officials say

A brochure outlining Palo Alto's response to a youth suicide cluster has earned Palo Alto an award from the California League of Cities.

The 11-page brochure describes the community response to the 2009-2010 youth "suicide cluster," formation of the multi-agency coalition known as Project Safety Net and lessons learned. It is titled "Giving Communities Help and Hope: Organizing a Community Response to Suicide."

"This report was funded by the Santa Clara County Mental Health Department in hopes that our experience with Project Safety Net in Palo Alto may be of help to other communities within Santa Clara County and beyond," said Rob de Geus, division manager in Palo Alto's Recreation Department.

DeGeus said he handed out about 200 copies of the brochure to colleagues from other communities at a September conference of the League of California Cities in San Francisco.

A League of Cities representative will attend Palo Alto's Oct. 17 City Council meeting to present the league's 2011 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence, recognizing "unique contributions" which result either in lower costs or more effective delivery of services.

The brochure outlines the many steps that led to formation of Project Safety Net following seven teen suicides between May 2009 and January 2011.

It contains numerous recommendations, including: building on "existing infrastructure and community resources to respond to crisis in the community" and emphasizing that "youth well-being is in the hands of the whole community, not just individual families, the school district or health practitioners."

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Like this comment
Posted by Roger
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 10, 2011 at 10:14 am

I'm happy to see the city finally recognized for something positive as a result of all the suicides.

Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 10, 2011 at 10:36 am

As one of the many participants in this effort, I was dismayed to read the headline above. One of the proven methods for improving a situation like the one we have in Palo Alto is to refrain from trumpeting the subject in places like Palo Alto Online. This article could have been just as informative without being as specific. Please consider changing the wording.

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 10, 2011 at 6:07 pm

The adult supervision by Stanford Med and PAMF

--corrected the prior ineffective, counterproductive, approaches of PAUSD.

We need to stick with such adult supervision and the evidence based scientific methods that Stanford Med and PAMF provide

Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 11, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Sharon, You are misinformed. Just saying.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

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