Community Task Force
In response to the tragic events our community has experienced the City with its many partners has taken an active role in developing short term and long term plans to address this crisis. On Sept. 3rd the City organized a multidisciplinary group of individuals to begin the dialogue of what is being done and what needs to be done to support youth and teens and prevent further tragedies.

This website is a summary of the Community Task Force representation, actions taken and emerging plan. This web page will will be updated as information becomes available.

If you have feedback, input or ideas to help support the Community Task Force please contact Rob de Geus.

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The Objective of the Community Task Force
Our mission is to develop and implement an effective, comprehensive, community-based mental health plan for overall youth well-being in Palo Alto. The plan includes education, prevention and intervention strategies that together provide a Safety Net or youth and teens in Palo Alto, and defines our community's teen suicide prevention efforts.

Drawing upon best practices and experiences from other communities handling similar situations the Task Force identified numerous strategies that have been known to have an effect in the education, prevention and intervention of teen suicides. The plan includes 23 strategies with both long and short-term actions.

The strategies that need immediate focus / implementation include:

The full list of strategies are assembled in the table below. The underlined strategies link to additional information. Click here to view the Project Safety Net Report - July 2010

Education Prevention Intervention
E-1 Mental Health Curriculum in schools P-1 Youth Outreach I-1 Adopted Suicide Prevention Policies
E-2 Parent Education P-2 Mental Health Support for Students I-2 Screening
E-3 Media Education P-3 Character Education & Resilience Skill Building Programs I-3 Peer to Peer Counseling
E-4 Mental Health Training for teachers P-4 Reduction of lethal means to self harm I-4 Surveys/Assessment of Risk
E-5 Community Education P-5 Crisis manual and safety plan I-5 Gatekeeper programs
P-6 Accessible resources on suicide prevention and depression I-6 Affordable and expanded mental health care
P-7 Reduction of harassment and social cruelty I-7 Crisis Hotline
P-8 Supportive School Environment I-8 Support for suicide survivors and attempters
I-9 Grief Counseling
I-10 Organized Health Care Provider Network

Featured Websites:

  • Adolescent Counseling Services (ACS) website with a wealth of information on student emotional and social health. ACS provides counseling support for students and families on Palo Alto school campuses.
  • Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) website was developed by a team of doctors, social workers, educators and volunteer teenagers dedicated to providing honest, medically accurate and up-to-date resource for teens

Community Task Force Makeup
The makeup of Community Task Force continues to evolve, but currently has representatives from:

Executive Committee
Due to the size of the task force a need quickly emerged to have a smaller executive committee and chair to make decisions and set direction.

The Executive Committee is currently made up of the following:

  • PAUSD - Carol Zepecki (Co-Chair)
  • City Recreation - Rob de Geus (Co-Chair)
  • PAUSD - Wes Cedros
  • PAUSD - Linda Lenoir
  • Adolescent Counseling Services - Dr. Philippe Rey
  • Lucile Packard CH - Shashank V. Joshi, MD
  • Kara - Cyndy Ainsworth
  • Parent Representative - Pat Markevitch
  • Teen Representative - Palo Alto Youth Council
  • PTA Council - Terry Godfrey
  • Palo Alto Medical Foundation - Becky Beacom
  • City Police - Ken Dueker