BOCES’ Regional Suicide Safety Leadership Team Supporting School Districts’ Suicide Prevention Efforts


For area school professionals who are in a unique position to recognize signs of distress in their students, there is a new resource to help direct students in crisis toward safety and recovery: P|NW BOCES’ Regional Suicide Safety Leadership Team.

Created in response to a series of recent suicides among young people in the region and facilitated by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lynn Allen, the team is a tightly knit collaboration among Putnam County Department of Community Services, Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health, Putnam & Westchester Suicide Prevention Task Forces and P|NW BOCES.

The Leadership Team, which meets monthly, plays both a response and prevention role. Its network can be activated to provide specialized support to schools and communities in the aftermath of a suicide, and it will work closely with BOCES’ Regional Crisis Team in such circumstances. However, the group’s core mission is prevention, which it hopes to achieve by educating school communities regarding suicide safety, providing a vetted list of resources, conducting sequenced trainings and establishing best practices in suicide safety.

“Our purpose is to provide a user-friendly, coordinated means for schools and communities to access expertise, guidance, support and resources to create an environment of suicide safety,” said Dr. Allen.

The team, which was formed in 2016, is working hard to spread its message of support and assistance for schools struggling with the issue of student suicide. Team members have been giving presentations to districts in our area, and a new brochure, designed by Visual Designer Tricia Herbold, describes the team’s services and other available resources and is being distributed to team member’s school and community networks.

“Separately we do great work in this area, but together we can be extremely effective and helpful for students in our region,” said Neil Boyle, Coordinator of BOCES’ Guidance & Child Study Center and team member, at a recent monthly meeting.

“This team has emerged as a small but mighty group who are driven to do everything in our power to ensure the suicide safety of the children in our region,” said Dr. Allen. “This is an extraordinary team of dedicated, caring professionals.”