Arkansas PBS offers essential series, online resources during pandemic

To support families, educators and communities during Suicide Prevention Month in September, Arkansas PBS has made available a video series and resources featuring Shawna Burns, licensed professional counselor and founder of Seed Digging Wellness Center in Harrison. Her innovative 17-part series can be viewed at myarkansaspbs.org/suicideprevention.

Several months of navigating through a new world with COVID-19 have left both adults and children feeling confused, overwhelmed, sad and anxious. In a series of digital shorts, Burns will share ways to manage hard times in life, overcome anxiety and learn to let the mind rest.

“Suicide Prevention – Looking Deeper” was originally created for educators by ArkansasIDEAS, a partnership between the Arkansas Department of Education and Arkansas PBS for teacher professional development, and is available as a public resource for the first time. Since its launch in June 2019, nearly 20,000 Arkansas educators have completed the course, calling it excellent and something anyone who deals with children should watch.

“Just as humans have physical needs that must be met for survival – such as food, water and oxygen – the human mind must have seven innate needs met in order to survive, as well,” Burns said. “When a person does not get these needs met to the point of helplessness, some really unhealthy behaviors can occur, such as hurting oneself or others.”

According to the Jason Foundation, four out of five teens display warning signs before they attempt suicide. In most cases, however, the seeds of trauma that brought them to that place were planted much earlier. In this 17-part digital series, broken down by topic, Burns shares personal stories and case studies that show the connections between those seeds, student behaviors and the innate needs within all people. Burns discusses the importance of recognizing suicide warning signs, being aware of risk factors and having a plan for prevention.

This information is helpful to parents, and it also includes classroom strategies for creating a safe and secure environment for students that speaks to the innate needs that are so often at the root of suicide.

Additional information and support resources, including a series of digital shorts, are available at myarkansaspbs.org/suicideprevention. A free set of resources is available, while supplies last, by emailing [email protected] “Suicide Prevention – Looking Deeper” is available as a free professional development course for Arkansas educators at ideas.myarkansaspbs.org. Anyone in crisis should call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255.

Shawna Burns, LPC-S, LADAC-CS, SDP-S is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor-Clinical Supervisor. She has counseled children and adults for the past 15 years and has created Seed Digging, a counseling approach that has helped hundreds of children and adults completely overcome mental health disorders and addictions. Burns has written four books, mini curriculums, and has created live and online training programs, including the Seed Digging Trauma-Informed School-Based Health Model. She has trained in numerous school districts, mental health agencies, colleges and at state and national conferences. One of her greatest desires is that children (and adults) will discover their amazing value and worth so that they can live a life full of joy and love.