Among the challenges facing schools, student mental health has emerged as a vital and growing concern. Prior to the pandemic, suicide was the second leading cause of death for youth aged 10-24¹ and nearly 1 in 5 students² had seriously considered suicide. The isolation and stress experienced by students over the past year have intensified educators’ concerns for student mental health.
Many students are struggling silently. Those who are at the highest risk for suicidal behavior are least likely to seek help for themselves, and more than half of individuals considering suicide give some warning of their intentions.³
Announcing a Major Update to GoGuardian Beacon
With this important information in mind, we’re releasing a major update to GoGuardian Beacon® that further expands our student safety solution for K-12 schools. In addition to helping identify students at risk of suicide or self-harm, Beacon Core and Beacon 24/7 plans now include automated detections for four new categories:
- Bullying – Looks for online searches indicating that the searcher is a victim of bullying, harassment, or threats or is seeking help to stop bullying, harassment, or threats.
- Violent Acts – Looks for online searches explicitly inquiring about how to commit a violent act, how to obtain the means to commit a violent act, or expresses a desire to commit a violent act.
- Guns & Bombs – Looks for online searches inquiring about how to acquire, build, use, conceal, or transport a gun or bomb.
- Historical Acts – Looks for online searches directly referencing specific school shootings or attacks or specific perpetrators of those attacks. The search text must include the name of a school or perpetrator.
These new categories are now included in the Beacon Core and 24/7* plans, along with self-harm and suicide alert categories.
Why did we decide to include Threats and Violence categories in Beacon?
Helping schools create safer learning environments has always been a part of our mission at GoGuardian. Students need solid foundations to prosper in and out of the classroom, and meeting safety needs can help ensure that students can engage and learn.
Once we developed GoGuardian Beacon for suicide and self-harm alerts, the next step was to include the identification of possible harm to others. With this new inclusion, we’re able to provide a more complete student safety solution for K-12—from content filtering to classroom management to harm prevention.
The Evolution of GoGuardian Beacon
GoGuardian Beacon was designed with the guidance of leading experts in mental health to ensure that it fits seamlessly into your school or district's suicide prevention policy.
Unlike other tools that may only focus on G-Suite or Office 365, Beacon works across all online browser activities to detect indicators of potential suicide and self-harm, including web searches, email, chats/messaging, videos, documents, social media, and more. Since 2019, Beacon has helped alert schools to content that indicates suicidality, notifying the right responders who can help students get the support they need. In 2020, Beacon 24/7 introduced the support of trained, U.S.-based safety specialists who review and escalate Active Planning alerts via phone 24 hours a day.
With today’s latest feature update, Beacon’s AI can now identify threats, violence, and bullying-related alerts by predicting student safety threats based on search content.
GoGuardian Beacon serves as one data point of a school's overall suicide prevention program. To learn more about how Beacon can support your district or school’s response plan, please contact us for a demo.
¹“2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS).” CDC. 2015.
²CDC WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Report, 2017.
³Berman, Jobes, and Silverman, “Adolescent Suicide: Assessment and Intervention, 2nd edition” 2006.
*Phone calls from Safety Support Specialists for these four new categories will be coming to Beacon 24/7 soon