Does A Suicide Prevention Program Exist At Your School?
School systems have, in recent years, become acutely aware of youth suicide and the risk factors that can lead to it; like classroom bullying, underlying family problems, and drug and alcohol abuse. But not all systems have adopted a proactive suicide prevention module in their health curricula, nor do all systems mandate suicide prevention training for their faculties, administrations, and staffs.
Start by asking these questions in the guidance office:
- “Is there a suicide prevention program in place here that teaches those in the school who work with our kids to spot the warning signs and take remedial action?”
- Ask about the training that teachers get. In Maryland, public schools are required to have training available, but not to actually give it, except on a volunteer basis.
- “Is there a protocol that every adult in the school knows for responding to a suicide threat?”
If the answers are unsatisfactory, start by visiting More Than Sad, which is a program of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention that provides education about factors that put youth at risk for suicide, in particular depression and other mental disorders.
Or visit the SOS! Signs of Suicide program, which is an award-winning, nationally recognized program designed for middle and high school-age students. It teaches students how to identify the symptoms of depression and suicidality in themselves or their friends, and encourages help-seeking through the use of the ACT® (Acknowledge, Care, Tell) technique.
Is There a Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainer At Your School?
In 2013, President Obama called for 50,000 citizens to receive Mental Health First Aid training; potentially providing a certified trainer for every school in the nation.
Mental Health First Aid is a groundbreaking public education program that helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The 12-hour workshop is for preparing school personnel, and others in the community who are concerned. It has been covered in USA Today, it has received national media attention, and has been praised in statehouses across the nation.
Visit Mental Health First Aid USA to learn more.