Mental Health Resources Urged After Student and Teacher Deaths in Boise School District

BOISE, Idaho – The Boise School District is grappling with a series of student and teacher deaths, prompting district leaders to call attention to mental health resources. Boise School Board President Dave Wagers and Superintendent Coby Dennis underscored the district’s ongoing mental health struggles in a letter to parents and staff. The letter mentioned multiple student and teacher deaths, categorized as both accidents and suicides, without providing specific details due to privacy concerns.

The district, home to approximately 23,000 students, is encouraging students, families, and staff to seek out mental health resources. Wagers and Dennis emphasized the availability of highly-trained professional counselors, social workers, and child psychologists within the district as well as partnerships with external mental health organizations, including BPA Health, a company offering free counseling services to Boise School District patrons.

After a tragedy, the district deploys a crisis response team comprising counselors, security personnel, health professionals, and school administrators. Additionally, school leaders are promoting the involvement of parents and guardians in Communities for Youth, a network aimed at promoting child well-being in partnership with the city of Boise and St. Luke’s Health System.

Idaho’s struggle with mental health challenges is not unique to the Boise School District. The state ranks 12th in the U.S. for suicide mortality, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The district’s surveys of junior high and high school students have revealed a high prevalence of depression and suicidal thoughts, prompting the implementation of resources for student well-being after the results of the surveys.

Despite the district’s efforts to address mental health, the recent deaths of students and a teacher have left the community in shock. The deaths, classified as accidents and suicides, have prompted a call for collective support within the school community to navigate the complexities of grief and loss. As the district continues to navigate these challenges, the promotion of mental health resources remains a top priority for school leaders.