WDAY: The News Leader

Published September 29, 2010, 10:21 AM

Suicide prevention curriculum added to area health classes

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It is a topic school teachers spent years wrestling with, even avoiding. But now Health Classes for 9th graders in Fargo and West Fargo will include the latest information, and a new DVD about teen depression and suicide prevention.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fargo North health teacher Marcene Malusky has been at this a long time; teaching 9th graders about the dangers of drinking, smoking, and poor decision making. Soon this will be added to her health class curriculum.

The local chapter of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, through its annual walk, is providing this teen depression and suicide prevention DVD and curriculum. And it is for a good reason.

“Over the 30 years of teaching more teens have been diagnosed with depression they never talked about it we did not talk about but now they are coming to me understanding more about depression.”

With 18-thousand teenagers taking their lives every year in the U-S, the local chapter wanted schools in our metro to make this part of the health curriculum. There was no argument from school leaders; they know teen depression and suicide are growing concerns for teachers and staff.

“School administrators we talked to, they watched the movie and say it’s a no brainer and a great film. We need it and there was nothing else to use.”

What's next, North Dakota is one of a handful of states that does not require mandatory training for teachers regarding teen depression and suicide.

If Sunday's well attended suicide prevention walk is any indication, the need for more education early is obvious. Shanley is also looking at using the DVD in its health classes.