Victor Hugo is the French novelist and poet famous for the quote “Nothing is more influential than an idea whose time has arrived.” The majority of his earlier French writings had to do with the shift from battle to an arena for minds which was open to new concepts. However, now in the year 2019 his writings are being brought to life through efficient, co-operative advocacy efforts.
The best illustration of this is my involvement with the state of New York. In the last few years as an agent of NYASP along with help of NASP I’ve been working on behalf of the NYS School Boards Association (NYSSBA).NYSSBA is the statewide voice representing the rights of public education boards. In general, members of school boards who are members of their local board of education are the educators within their communities. They set the rules that govern the operations of the community’s public schools. systems.
The exchange of ideas began in the year 2015 when “high risk testing” was at its peak within the State. Our two organizations collaborated on a study that set off an alarm about anxiety. Discussions about safeguarding our children’s safety become paramount.A several years after, we started asking difficult questions regarding whether schools provided adequate mental health care. This report was self-reflective and also made great steps in identifying the obstacles to better wellbeing within our school communities.
As is the norm with advocacy the longer you dedicate to your relationships more rewarding the results. It’s not about the pursuit of personal gain, but helping to save the lives of our young people. Yes, our work as school psychologists can save lives! That is why, when the subject about Suicide Prevention was discussed, all the minds were in a state of harmony and open.
This year, the grouping was NYASP Local chapter from The Trevor Project and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Columbia University, NYS Office of Mental Health, the Suicide Prevention Center of NYS and other organizations. After an updated guide was put together it was clear that we needed for the NYS school Boards in particular to prioritize this effort and participate in the efforts.
The universe was in it, and in the same manner, NASP had been working together with other national associations to improve the Model School Policy on Suicide Prevention. Together the two documents, which were released in September of this year to celebrate Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, provide a clear example for how school can provide solutions to the tragic issue of suicide.
Rarely do you see so many forces working together to produce such a positive result. That’s why this blog, which was posited in the very first instance, hundreds of years ago, which implies that timing is the most important factor.
Consider this blog an opportunity to engage. Take the blog as your own advocacy plan. Share the documents that are hyperlinked to key individuals within your community, school or the your state. Make sure you start the discussion (loudly) about protecting our children from harm.