New suicide prevention technology allowing schools to help at-risk students
GoGuardian, a leading education technology SaaS provider, announced the availability of Beacon, a suicide and self-harm prevention tool custom designed to address the national crisis: suicide is now the second-leading cause of death among teenagers. This issue is especially critical for K-12 schools, as the pre-launch deployment of GoGuardian’s Beacon found that 80 percent of at-risk notifications, which required action, were generated during school hours.
Designed in collaboration with K-12 school districts and leading mental health experts, including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the American Association of Suicidology, Beacon is the only software solution capable of conducting real-time scans across the entire internet: including chat, social media, forums, searches, email, and online collaboration tools – allowing it to identify warning signs that other services miss on school-provided devices. Beacon’s advanced AI platform utilizes contextual analytics of phrases and emotional insights that allow it to spot problems arising from non-intuitive or subtle signs of depression or anxiety, indicators that are frequently missed by other solutions that rely on keywords to trigger alerts.
“We know that students primarily communicate, express their feelings, and explore ideas and actions across a variety of places online,” said Tyler Shaddix, co-founder and chief product officer at GoGuardian. “Beacon provides K-12 mental health professionals with time-critical information so they can extend an early hand to students facing serious personal challenges. Beacon also provides school professionals with important context and data so they can more confidently assess and manage each individual case.”
Beacon identifies and notifies school counselors of the different suicide phases ranging from ideation to active suicide planning. This critical context helps counselors deploy the best course of action at the optimal time, ensuring they can have more engaged and productive conversations with those students in need. Beacon also helps identify those who are “silently struggling”: high-achieving students who are often overlooked because they don’t exhibit external signs of depression.
“In today’s digital age, it’s vital to have a tool that provides insights into our students’ online behavior and with GoGuardian’s Beacon we have a bird’s-eye view, able to assess where our kids are going and if they need help,” said Dr. Roland Rios, director of technology at Fort Sam Houston Independent School District. “The Beacon alerts we have received have enabled us to find those children in need of extra attention and counseling which has helped us, and helped the students and their families.”
Beacon’s advanced AI also provides actionable insights which can help identify larger themes that may be negatively affecting the students’ mental health by providing the necessary information to initiate a dialogue in a way that destigmatizes the issue. For example, recently a school district was able to identify a trend where many of their students were struggling with their sexual identity. As a direct result of Beacon, the district is now exploring adding specialized resources to help their students feel supported as they navigate their feelings about this.
“Schools are playing an increasingly critically important role in preventing suicide. Creating a culture of safety and support, and identifying students who are at risk are two of the life saving steps schools can serve,” said Christine Moutier, M.D., chief medical officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “GoGuardian presented this new opportunity to identify a whole layer of students who may be at risk who were previously unknown. It’s important to have a tool that supports early risk detection.”
Compatible with both Chromebook and PC devices, Beacon provides actionable insights based on contextual analytics of phrases, patterns and keywords. Schools can customize Beacon to complement their existing mental health screening and suicide prevention protocols, notifying the right staff to take quick action. With Beacon, schools are also able to set-up after hours alerts to notify parents and emergency responders, so schools can be confident that any critical issue, whether it’s over a weekend or late at night, is immediately addressed.
To learn more about Beacon and access partner resources, visit: https://www.goguardian.com/beacon
GoGuardian, the fastest-growing education company in the U.S., helps thousands of K-12 schools maximize the learning potential of every student. Its products help educators identify learning patterns, protect students from harmful and distracting content, and support mental health. With GoGuardian, educators can seamlessly connect students with engaging resources, manage instruction, and receive actionable insight into students’ individual learning needs.
Learn more about GoGuardian’s industry-defining analytics, student engagement, and self-harm prevention products at www.goguardian.com.