Innovative Approaches to School-Based Suicide Prevention — Notes from the Field

September 12, 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT
September 13, 2:00pm-3:00pm EDT


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The 2017-18 school year begins on the heels of new CDC data documenting the rise in rates of youth suicide. The data urgently call for school districts and their partners in public health to find new and more effective ways of engaging school communities to ensure that troubled students are identified early and connected to care.

We hosted a panel discussion where school district leaders from Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Texas, and California talked about using a new approach to suicide prevention: Kognito online simulations. Panelists shared insights about:

  • Developing consensus with school boards, administrators and parents to introduce an innovative tool like Kognito in their district;
  • Successful implementation strategies; 
  • Best practices and lessons learned to help other districts as they begin the school year.

Suggested Audiences:

  • District leaders
  • Superintendents
  • School principals
  • Pupil services staff
  • Prevention and safe schools staff
  • School counselors, social workers and psychologists
  • Community mental health professionals
  • Teachers

About Our Presenters

MaryAnn Panarelli, Director of Intervention and Prevention Services at Fairfax County Public Schools

Karen Li, Wellness Coordinator at the Sequoia Union High School District

Amy Macechko, Health & Wellness Coordinator at the Talawanda School District

Cynthia A. Schulmeyer, Coordinator of School Psychology at Howard County Public School System

Dr. Karen Li is the Wellness Coordinator for the Sequoia Union High School District based in Redwood, California, and is responsible for issues pertaining to the health and safety of both students and staff. Mental health needs have been a top priority in schools, and she is pleased to collaborate and partner with Kognito. Prior to her current role in the schools, Dr. Li was a pediatrician in San Mateo, CA.

Jennifer Lyon, M.Ed., Coordinator of Counseling Services and Social Emotional Learning in Leander ISD

Conversations that change lives.

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Cynthia A. Schulmeyer is an administrator for Office of Psychological Services Program. She collaborates with Student Services Offices (Guidance, Health, and Pupil Personnel) and develops Office of Psychological Services Leadership Team to oversee Instructional Intervention Teams, Crisis Teams, LD/ADHD Initiative and provision of resources to staff. She also develops and manages office budget, develops a program of professional development, and conducts observations of non-tenured staff and evaluations for all staff.
Dr. Panarelli has been working with youth for over 30 years. She earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from Georgetown University, a masters degree in school psychology from George Mason University, and a doctorate in special education leadership and public policy from George Washington University. After running a group home for children with emotional disabilities, Dr. Panarelli taught elementary and middle school for 10 years. She worked for Fairfax County Public Schools as a school psychologist and as a special education administrator prior to her current position as director of Intervention and Prevention Services. In this role Dr. Panarelli supervises the offices of Psychology Services, Social Work Services, Nontraditional School Programs, and Student Safety and Wellness. She leads the school division’s Resiliency Project, which includes building a sense of community and personal responsibility to all members of the community. It is in this context that At Risk has been used as one tool to help members of the school community to learn to recognize signs of emotional distress and to engage in help-seeking behavior.
Amy Macechko is the Health & Wellness Coordinator for the Talawanda School District, located in Oxford, Ohio. She also serves as the Project Coordinator for the Coalition for a Healthy Community - Oxford Area which seeks to build a healthier community in the priority areas of alcohol/drug prevention, mental health promotion, and obesity prevention.
Jennifer Lyon, M.Ed., has been in education for over 22 years, 16 of those as a school counselor serving both elementary and middle school students. She is currently the Coordinator of Counseling Services and Social Emotional Learning in Leander ISD.