Jeramie Robinson, Counselor at Capital High School

HELENA – Suicide prevention in schools gets a boost thanks to the Office of Public Instruction.

Superintendent for OPI, Elsie Arntzen, has chosen 16 people to serve on a committee that will help guide new state rules requiring schools to develop suicide prevention programs.

Committee members were picked to represent a diverse group of Montanans who are experts in the field of education, business, suicide prevention and response.

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The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says Montana ranks third highest in the nation for suicides. Montana’s 2017 youth risk behavior found close to one in 10 high school students had attempted suicide in the past year.

Committee member Jeramie Robinson has been a professional counselor for 10 years. He’s spent the last 5 years at Capital High.

“Well, I think as a school counselor you know our job is to be an alias for kids and to be that person that no matter what in their corner, and a lot of times kids don’t have anybody in their corner and (it) gives them that opportunity. What I love is if some way that that’s part of the training that all teachers can be a safe place for kids,” said Robinson.

The first meeting for the Suicide Prevention and Response Negotiated Rulemaking Committee will be next Wednesday.