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Guidelines on Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention

This webpage is a resource to locate suicide prevention guidance documents that are intended to share models, approaches, and tools to prevent suicides among youth, adolescents, and young adults. The resources outlined below provide a variety of documents for suicide prevention among several categories, including general information, schools, juvenile justice, health and behavioral health care systems, and messaging.

General Suicide Prevention

2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention

The purpose of this document is to provide a better understanding of suicide to the public, address potential risk and protective factors, look at the difference between groups, and offer ways to prevent suicide. The document includes the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention goals and objectives, a brief history of suicide prevention in the United States, general suicide prevention resources, and treatment and support services.

Agencies mentioned in the document and could be used as resources include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Education, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Institute of Mental Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Illinois Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan

This document serves as an update to the Illinois Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan and identifies four strategic directions: 1) healthy and empowered individuals, families, and communities; 2) clinical and community preventive services; 3) health care providers; and 4) surveillance, research, and evaluation. Through strong community action, the overall goal of the plan is to reduce suicide and suicidal behaviors in all populations. The plan should be viewed as a compass shared by suicide prevention stakeholders that will give a unifying direction to their programs.

This webpage is sponsored by Illinois Department of Public Health and is in collaboration with Illinois Suicide Prevention Alliance and numerous suicide prevention stakeholders.


Illinois Youth Suicide Prevention Toolkit

The guidelines outlined within the document are intended to help districts and schools build a suicide prevention and intervention plan that meets the expectations of Illinois’ Public Act 99-0443, also known as Ann Marie’s law. The document provides ready-to-use, practical procedures and guidance for modifying these procedures to fit the needs of districts and schools. Topics covered in the document include developing and implementing promotional prevention strategies, strategies to identify students at risk of suicide, and procedures for responding to students at risk of suicide.

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) aims to empower districts and schools to effectively address the total wellness of our students and school communities: “ISBE envisions Illinois as a state of whole, healthy children nested in whole, healthy systems supporting communities wherein all citizens are socially and economically secure.”

Safe-2-Help Illinois Mental Health Toolkit

The document provides schools with a comprehensive set of resources designed to support school culture change around suicide. The purpose is to remove the stigma around mental health issues in schools and foster a caring school environment with resources to provide youth activities focused on being kind and empathetic. The toolkit provides resources for schools, parents, and other educators. These resources are divided by age groups to include children in pre-K through fourth grade, fifth through eighth grade, and ninth through 12th grade. The overall goal of the document is to provide students the means to “Seek Help Before Harm.”

The toolkit was developed in collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education. Safe-2-Help provides students in Illinois with a free application, phone numbers for calls or texts, and a website to help students who have concerns about the mental health of their peers to report the concerns in an efficient and confidential setting.

Recommendation of the Illinois Terrorism Task Force School Safety Working Group

The guidelines within the document are recommendations based upon three topics: behavioral threat assessment, hardening of facilities, and response protocols in schools. The behavioral threat assessment recommendations cover topics such as threat assessment teams and school policy, sharing information between schools and law enforcement, sharing information among schools, student reports of threats, and a student safety tip line. The hardening of facilities recommendations includes topics like priority lists and regional site assessment teams. The response protocol recommendations cover information such as active shooter drills, fire alarm protocols, trauma management training for students, and common terminology for school emergencies.

The document is supported by the Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF) and the School Safety Working Group (SSWG). The SSWG includes state and local law enforcement professionals; representatives from statewide education associations, including the Illinois Education Association; the fire service; emergency management; and mental health.

Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools

The guidelines within the document are to assist in creating and implementing a multifaced suicide prevention program that responds to the needs and cultures of students. The information and tools included are intended to help schools assess their ability to prevent suicides and to respond to suicides that do occur, understand strategies that can help students who are at risk for suicide, understand how to respond to the suicide of a student of staff, identify effective suicide prevention programs and activities, and integrate suicide prevention into activities that meet other aspects of the school’s mission, such as preventing the use of drugs or alcohol.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) funded the toolkit to help high schools, school districts, and their partners design and implement strategies to prevent suicide and promote behavioral health among their students.

Model School District Policy on Suicide Prevention: Model Language, Commentary, and Resources

The guidelines outlined in the document include model policies and best practices for school districts to follow to protect the health and safety of all students. This document was developed by examining strong local policies, ensuring that they are in line with the latest research in the field of suicide prevention, and identifying best practices for a national framework. The model is comprehensive, yet the policy language is modular and may be used to draft your own district policy based upon the unique needs of your district. The model policies within the document include purpose, scope, definition, prevention, intervention, parental notification, and involvement, and how to respond after a suicide death. There is commentary and implementation strategies included as well.

This webpage is affiliated with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), The Trevor Project, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA).

Guidance to states and school systems on addressing mental health and substance use issues in schools

There is an urgent need to identify children and adolescents who have or are at risk for mental disorders and connect these children and adolescents with services they need. However, most communities and schools lack high quality, comprehensive treatment for children and adolescents. Schools are particularly critical in identifying and supporting students with mental health issues. Unfortunately, schools often lack the capacity to both identify and to adequately treat mental disorder needs of their students. The document addresses some items parallel to suicide prevention, which include multi-tiered system of supports; comprehensive school mental health systems; counseling, psychological, and social services coordination; and funding for school-based mental health for substance use related prevention and treatment services.

The agencies affiliated with this document are the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The funding information included in the document was added to the list of potential sources of funding for suicide prevention activities.

Juvenile Justice

Preventing Juvenile Suicide through Improved Collaboration: Strategies for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Agencies

Because of the multiple traumatic events that these youth have experienced and the sense of hopelessness and isolation that ensues from the experience of confinement, suicide risk for these youth dramatically increases. The guidelines within the document are the recommendations the workgroup compiled and tailored for suicide prevention supports and services for youth involved in the juvenile justice system in two categories: overarching priorities and strategies. The strategies provided are those to help meet the priorities that are listed in an attempt to meet suicide prevention goals.

The document is affiliated with the Young in Contact with the Juvenile System Task Force of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

Health and Behavioral Health Care Systems

Zero Suicide Framework

The guidelines within the webpage include the Zero Suicide framework, toolkit, and resources. The Zero Suicide framework is defined by a system-wide, organizational commitment to safer suicide care in health and behavioral health care system. The guidelines in the webpage are focused on moving away from fragmented suicide care to a more holistic and comprehensive approach as a commitment to patient safety and takes into consideration the promotions and approaches taken by the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP) and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

The agencies affiliated with the document are Zero Suicide Institute and the Education Development Center.

Firearm Safety

Firearm Safety Toolkit

The toolkit includes Illinois-specific information and guidance for both health care providers and caregivers. Key components of the Firearm Safety Toolkit include:

  • Illinois Firearm Laws and Their Implications for Clinical Practice
  • Key Requirements to Own a Firearm in Illinois
  • Ways Health Care Providers Can Engage Parents and Caregivers in Child Firearm Safety
  • Ways to Advocate for Stronger Firearm Safety Laws
  • Resources for Parents and Caregivers, including how to navigate conversations with your child and other caregivers who may own a firearm
  • Firearm Disposal and Storage options

The toolkit is available as an electronic version with hyperlinks and as a print version with full URLs. The full URL version was created so that the Resources for Parents and Caregivers section may be printed and distributed as a handout. The toolkit was developed by the Teamwork to

Reduce Infant, Child, and Adolescent Mortality (TRICAM) and Strengthening Chicago’s Youth (SCY) programs of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.


Framework for Successful Messaging

The Framework is a research-based resource that outlines four key factors to consider when developing public messages about suicide: strategy, safety, conveying a “positive narrative,” and following applicable guidelines. The document answers the questions of Who is the Framework for?, What is public messaging?, “What is the purpose of Framework?, and How can I get involved with the Framework initiative? The guidelines within the document are for those who are messaging to the public about suicide and suicide prevention.

This website (otherwise known as is the central resource for the Framework. The Framework was created by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.