Fundraising event for youth suicide prevention program |

Fundraising event for youth suicide prevention program

“What’s Up? Wellness Checkups,” a local program provides mental health screening for Nevada County high school youth, will be hosting a fundraiser from 5 to 8 p.m. on April 15, at Matteo’s Public.

Organizers said 15 percent of all dinner proceeds will go to the program.

Reservations are recommended by calling 530-265-0782.

In 2013, responding to the need for suicide prevention efforts in Nevada County high schools, “What’s Up? Wellness Checkups” began providing free, voluntary and confidential mental health screenings at all Nevada Joint Union High School District and Tahoe Truckee Unifited School District high schools.

Funded through Nevada County Behavioral Health and their MHSA funds (the Millionaire’s Tax), the program uses the TeenScreen model, an evidence-based screening tool developed by Columbia University to identify risk factors for suicide.

Most people are uncomfortable with the topic of suicide. Too often, victims are blamed, and families and friends are left stigmatized.

Research tells us, however, that there are prevention and treatment options available — and they work.

Research indicates that 10th grade has the highest rate of suicide completion of all the teen years, which is why “What’s Up? Wellness Checkups” targets ninth and 10th graders, while also providing screening to any student in need.

Students are screened for various indicators of mental health symptoms as well as risk for suicide. These risk factors include previous attempts and ideation, depression, substance abuse and other emotional health challenges.

For Americans between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death, resulting in approximately 4,600 lives lost each year.

A nationwide survey of youth in grades 9-12 in public and private schools found that 16 percent of students reported seriously considering suicide, 13 percent reported creating a plan, and 8 percent reporting trying to take their own life in the 12 months preceding the survey.

As of March 2015, the program has provided mental health screenings to 742 students. Of those screened, 192 students have received support with parental involvement in making treatment connections.

“What’s Up? Wellness Checkups” has also been able to provide important mental health education to all students screened, and has thus facilitated increased awareness and stigma reduction.

Tackling an important program objective to increase the availability of the screens for high school youth, outreach efforts have resulted in more than twice the number of students to screen during this school year.

Program officials said that with the increase in teens to screen, fundraising efforts aim to continue providing this valuable service to Nevada County’s High School youth as well as to help support families who apply for monetary support in connecting their teen to needed services.

For additional information about the program, visit or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit

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