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."