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Medford schools provide support after student’s death

Parents and family members are urged to talk with their students following the death of a Medford Area Senior High School (MASH) student over the weekend.

District staff and support agencies quickly mobilized to have resources available for students impacted by the death.

“This will be a very difficult week for our students, staff, and families. This loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for our entire school, especially our students,” said principal Jill Lybert in an email to parents of students at MASH.

“Our school has a team of trained individuals available to assist with the needs of students and school personnel at difficult times such as this. We will have counselors available for any student who may need or want support surrounding this loss,” she said.

“We encourage you to talk to your child and reach out to our student services team for any support needed,” she said, urging those who would like to talk with a member of the student services team to call the high school office at 715-748-5951.

“We are truly saddened by the loss to our school community and will make every effort to support your child through this difficult time,” Lybert said.

Community resources

Taylor County has a number of resources to help with suicide prevention. Jen Meyer of Taylor County Human Services urges people to take talk of suicide seriously. She said it is important to have the hard conversations and to get people help right away either through a counselor, their primary care provider or Urgent Care.

Taylor County Human Services has crisis counseling available as well Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more local help, call the Taylor County Human Services Department at 715-748-3332. The intake worker will answer questions and refer to the appropriate services. While there may be fees no one will be denied services due to an inability to pay.

For after-hours crisis service, contact the Taylor County Sheriff’s Department at 715-748-2200. They will arrange for a Human Services staff member to assist with the crisis.

In addition to professional help, there are many individuals in the school and community who have been trained in the QPR (Question. Persuade. Refer.) program which emphasizes the following Chain of Survival elements: Early Recognition of suicide — The sooner warning signs are detected and help sought, the better the outcome.

Early QPR — Asking someone about the presence of suicidal thoughts and feelings opens up a conversation that may lead to a referral for help.

Early intervention and referral — Referral to local resources or calling 1-800-273-TALK for evaluation and possible referral is critical.

Early Advanced Life Support — As with any illness, early detection and treatment results in better outcomes.

Signs to look for

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the behaviors listed below may be some of the signs that someone is thinking about suicide.

Talking about: Wanting to die; Great guilt or shame; and/or Being a burden to others.

Feeling: Empty, hopeless, trapped, or having no reason to live; Extremely sad, more anxious, agitated, or full of rage; and/or Unbearable emotional or physical pain.

Changing behavior, such as: Making a plan or researching ways to die; Withdrawing from friends, saying goodbye, giving away important items, or making a will; Taking dangerous risks such as driving extremely fast; Displaying extreme mood swings; Eating or sleeping more or less; and/or Using drugs or alcohol more often.

If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently.

The national 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline can be accessed by calling or text 988 or online at There is also a national Crisis Text Line, text “HELLO” to 741741.