Jewish schools will soon be sent a detailed guide on how to cope after a suicide or sudden death – as community groups come together to support students’ mental well-being.
Some of the biggest Jewish charities teamed up with the Jewish mental health organisation Jami to create the 28-page document, unveiled on Tuesday.
Jami, Norwood, the Community Security Trust, the Jewish Bereavement Counselling Service and PaJes formed the Emergency Response Initiative Consortium (ERIC).
ERIC will roll out a new “first responder” service, offering immediate assistance to schools affected by a sudden student death. They will also raise awareness in the community to reduce the stigma surrounding suicidal feelings and encourage students to seek help.
Suicide is the biggest killer among 10 to 24 year-olds. In 2018, it claimed the lives of 730 young people in the UK and Ireland, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Rabbi David Meyer, executive director at PaJeS, said: “We are very fortunate that the schools in our community not only achieve high academic standards but also show genuine concern and care for all the students.
“However, there are times where the expectations on school leaders are beyond their levels of expertise. It is therefore welcomed that Jami together with CST, Norwood, JBCS, and Grief Encounter has prepared this essential guidance for schools on dealing with sudden traumatic death”.
A JFS teenager who struggled with depression and anxiety for a year took his own life in August 2017.