The mental health crisis was growing.

Three Clovis West High School boys took their own lives during the first few months of the 2016-2017 school year. Within a few months another Clovis Unified School District teen committed suicide. And the number of students being transported from CUSD schools to mental health facilities for observation had jumped nearly 350% from the previous year.

During that time, Fresno County had the second highest suicide rate in California among those under 21, behind Tulare County.

“In addition to the tragic loss of three Clovis West students…we also experienced some of the worst episodes of cutting and other self-harm that we have ever seen on our campuses,” Kelly Avants, CUSD’s chief communication officer, said of the 2016-2017 school year.

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