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How You Can Help Prevent Youth Suicide

It is recognized as a chronic epidemic, yet the widespread effects of suicide are hidden by stigma, myth, and shame. This stigma negatively effects prevention and intervention efforts. So, it is widely agreed upon that awareness and education are the first and best course of action in preventing suicide. Other prevention efforts are the responsibility of personal, academic, professional, and civic environments to protect its youth. Use the links below to find out more about the steps each role can take in suicide prevention.

High Schools

  • Design and implement protocols for helping students at risk of suicide, including:
    • A protocol for helping students who may be at risk of suicide.
    • A protocol for responding to students who attempt suicide at school.
    • Agreements with community providers to provide behavioral health services to students.
  • Design and implement protocols for responding to suicide death, including:
    • Steps to take after the suicide of a student or other member of the school community.
    • Staff responsible for taking these steps.
    • Agreements with community partners to help in the event of a student’s death.
  • Staff education and training.
  • Parent and student education.
  • A suicide screening program supported by parents, staff, and community mental health provider(s).

High School Teachers

  • Understand how suicide prevention fits with your role as a high school teacher.
  • Identify and respond to students who may be at risk for suicide.
  • Respond to students who may be at risk for suicide.
  • Be prepared to respond to a suicide death.
  • Consider becoming involved in schoolwide suicide prevention.

High School Mental Health Provider

  • Understand how suicide prevention fits with your role as a high school mental health provider.
  • Identify and respond to students who may be at risk for suicide.
  • Respond to students who may be at risk for suicide.
  • Be prepared to respond to a suicide death.
  • Consider becoming involved in schoolwide suicide prevention.

Foster Care Providers

  • Encourage your foster child to talk with you.
  • Remind your foster child that you or another caring adult will be there to listen when the child is ready to talk.
  • If you are concerned that your foster child may be considering suicide, ask some specific questions in a way that does not judge or threaten the child.
    • “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”
    • “Sometimes when people feel sad, they think about hurting or killing themselves. Do you ever have thoughts like that?”

Colleges and Universities

  • Promote social networks and connectedness.
  • Improve access to mental health services on and off campus.
  • Identify and assist students who may be at risk for suicide.
  • Be prepared to respond when a suicide death occurs.

Parents

  • Maintain a supportive and involved relationship with your children.
  • Understand the warning signs and risk factors for suicide.
  • Know where to turn for help.

Remember, suicide is preventable. See the resources for additional guidance

Resources