This interactive workshop is suitable for school leaders, primary/secondary teachers and support staff. With a positive and hopeful emphasis, the workshop will inform participants about the current trends and statistics pertaining to child and adolescent suicide in Australia. It will provide information on the positive and pivotal role of the teacher as a ‘Gatekeeper’ in suicide prevention, particularly through their capacity to recognize young people at risk and refer them to professional support services.
Attendees will enhance their understanding of protective factors that keep young people safer from suicidal ideation and will have the opportunity to evaluate current proactive strategies in place at their school. Participants will then examine circumstances that put young people at greater risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours. The workshop will enhance participant understanding in how these risk factors might manifest as warning signs that teachers should know and look out for. Through a diverse range of interactive activities, participants will refine their listening and rapport building skills, examining safe methods of intervention with students at risk, including a clear guidelines on how to speak with young people about suicide. The workshop emphasizes the importance of self-care, arenas of safety and best practice regarding effective referrals and student follow-up.
Donna is a writer, speaker, teacher trainer and secondary educator. She has expertise in student wellbeing, establishing effective school systems and positive strategies for youth suicide prevention.
In 2013 Donna was awarded the NSW Premier’s Anika Foundation Youth Depression Awareness Scholarship and examined strategies implemented globally for youth suicide prevention and she recognized the importance of proactively enhancing teacher confidence within the school context. Donna assisted in the planning of the Wollongong Diocesan Suicide Pre, Inter and Post-Vention Strategic Plan. Donna’s company Awaken Youth facilitates BOSTES Accredited 'Gatekeeper Training' Workshops for teachers. In 2015 she presented at the Suicide Prevention Australia Conference on the topic 'Teachers: the greatest untapped resource in youth suicide prevention.' She is a member of the Macarthur Suicide Prevention Network committee and is employed as a Telephone Crisis Supporter for Lifeline. Donna is the author of the young adult novel ‘Awakening Sebastian’, which communicates a strong preventative message regarding youth suicide.