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Home » Student Success » Health & Safety » Mental, Social, & Behavioral Health » Youth Suicide Prevention, Intervention, & Postvention

Youth Suicide Prevention, Intervention, & Postvention

Upcoming Events

2022 Summer Lifelines Training Events

  • July 27–29, 2022 in Spokane
  • August 1–3, 2022 in Yakima
  • August 17–19, 2022 in Olympia
  • August 22–24, 2022 in Renton

Contact Information

Suicide Prevention

Behavioral Health and Suicide Prevention Program Specialist

OSPI strives to provide resources and support to help inform ESDs, school districts, and schools in the development of Suicide Prevention Plans. Suicide prevention planning informs all adults in schools and communities about how to intervene with a young person exhibiting warning signs for suicide. There is a place for everyone in suicide prevention.

Warning Signs

School staff have day-to-day contact with many young people, some of whom are experiencing mental distress or illness that could result in feelings of hopelessness that could lead to suicidal behavior. Those who work in schools are well-positioned to observe student behavior and act when they suspect that a student may be at risk of self- harm and/or suicide.

Suicide Postvention in Schools

The grief associated with a death by suicide can be quite overwhelming. When a school community experiences a loss by suicide the effects can be felt on various levels. Using protocols that follow model guidance and knowing where to turn for help is critical.

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OSPI, in partnership with University of Washington's Forefront Suicide Prevention and Washington state’s ESD Behavioral Health Navigators, created the Suicide Postvention Guide for Schools in Washington State. This guide gathers best resources from materials that already exist and provides resources to enhance a school’s ability to respond with resources specific to their distinct ESD.

Also see: Suicide Postvention Guide for Schools in Washington State PPT slides and Suicide Postvention in Schools Handout. To request an editable version of the PPT slides, that can be localized for your district, please email Tayler Burkhart(link sends e-mail).

ESD Behavioral Health Navigators

Second Substitute House Bill (2SHB) 1216 (2019–20) funded Behavioral Health Coordinator/Navigator (BHN) positions in all nine of Washington's Educational Service Districts (ESDs) to provide a network of support for school districts to develop and implement comprehensive suicide prevention and behavioral health supports for students.

BHN Contact List

Student/Youth Mental Health Literacy Library

The Student/Youth Mental Health Literacy Library gives any teacher, school counselor or other staff member a comprehensive resource of professionally vetted curricula and school presentations to easily and quickly compare available programs at their fingertips. The site has three very important features. The University of Washington SMART Center has prepared an Implementation Guide Toolkit featured on the site that provides best practices for program implementation.


Mental Health Crisis Lines

Suicide Prevention

The CARE course is a research-backed, web-based course to provide educators and other school staff the tools and confidence to identify students who may be at risk for emotional or behavioral distress, including suicide, substance use, violence, and sexual abuse. CARE will help all school staff understand when and how to intervene and make referrals to counselors and mental health professionals, based on their district’s policy and procedure.

The course is a free, one-hour, online module that meets the criteria set forth by Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 28A.320.127 which requires educators receive training on how to recognize and respond to students experiencing emotional or behavioral distress.

Anyone can take this course. Counselors, psychologists, social workers, and nurses can take the course, but it does not meet the course requirement for certification or recertification. Those courses can be found on the Professional Educator Standards Board Website.

The purpose of a prevention plan is to protect the health and well-being of all students by having procedures in place to prevent, assess the risk of, intervene in, and respond to students in crisis. Prevention of youth suicide, violence, substance use/misuse, and the early identification and treatment of behavioral health disorders are most effective when students, staff, parents, and community members have access to prevention information and resources.

OSPI Resources for Comprehensive Suicide Prevention

Guides and Examples of Comprehensive Suicide Prevention

Training for School Professionals

The Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) maintains the list of approved trainings required for school nurses, counselors, psychologists, and social workers. Contact an ESD Prevention Director to find out about their training schedule or see the PESB Website for other training options.

School-based Programming

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center Page for Resources and Programs has a searchable database of evidence-based programs and practices for education, screening, treatment, environmental change that can be filtered based on intended population.

Fiscal Resources