What Schools Are Doing to Talk About Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Awareness_call Teen LifelineOne of the first things participants learn in mental health first aid classes is how to ask someone if they feel suicidal. Just practicing the act of asking helps to erase the uncomfortable feelings we may have about the topic of suicide. And since talking about suicide is a first step everyone can take toward ending suicide, it’s time to get comfortable with the topic.

  • Acknowledge you or your friend may have a problem
  • Care about the concern
  • Tell a trusted adult

In Arizona, schools are starting this critical conversation. With funding from the Arizona Attorney General’s office, Mi Kid staff provides suicide prevention programming for students in grades 6-12. Signs of Suicide (SOS) is free, evidence-based curriculum for students age 11-17. Students are taught to recognize the signs of depression and use the ACT technique:

  • Acknowledge you or your friend may have a problem
  • Care about the concern
  • Tell a trusted adult

The program is designed to: decrease suicidal attempts by students by increasing understanding of depression; encourage students to seek help when necessary; reduce the stigma of mental illness; engage parents and school staff with gatekeeper education; and encourage schools to create community partnerships to support students’ mental health.

High schools in Tempe, AZ started the 2017-18 school year by addressing suicide in a most prominent way. Students in Tempe High Schools found stickers on the back of their student ID cards with the Teen Lifeline phone number. Some schools also provided additional information about how and when to access behavioral health services. Teen Lifeline is a Phoenix-based suicide prevention outreach program that trains teens to counsel their peers anonymously.

Resources in this article:
Timesha Moore McHarris
timesham@mikid.org
www.mikid.org/suicide-prevention

Teenlifeline.org

 

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