For more information, contact:
Behavioral Health & Suicide Prevention Program Supervisor
For more information, contact:
Behavioral Health & Suicide Prevention Program Supervisor
In Washington state, suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens 15 to 19 years old. According to the Washington Healthy Youth Survey (2018), 32% of eighth graders, 40% of 10th graders, and 41% of 12th graders felt so sad or hopeless for 2 weeks or more that they stopped doing their usual activities. 16% of 8th graders, 18% of 10th graders, and 18% of 12th graders reported making a suicide plan. Most students who reported feeling sad or hopeless said they have an adult to turn to for help, however, 13% of 8th graders, 16% of 10th graders, and 15% of 12th graders report there are not adults for them to turn to when feeling sad or hopeless.
Comprehensive 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. OSPI strives to provide resources and support to help inform educational service districts, school districts, and schools in the development of Suicide Prevention Plans.
School counselor, psychologist, social worker, and nurse to receive suicide prevention training.
Issues of Abuse course content include recognition, screening, and response to emotional or behavioral distress in students, substance abuse, violence, and youth suicide.
School districts must adopt a plan for recognition, screening, and response to emotional or behavioral distress in students: substance abuse, violence, and youth suicide.
OSPI to develop and maintain a Model School District Plan for Recognition, initial screening, and response to emotional or behavioral distress.
Requires that each Educational Service District develop and maintain the capacity to train on youth suicide screening and referral, and student emotional and behavioral distress.
OSPI to assist schools in implementing youth suicide prevention activities.
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.
Guides and Examples of Comprehensive Suicide Prevention
SAMHSA Issue Brief: Suicide Prevention in Schools
Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
The Trevor Project Model School Policy, developed in partnership with American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the American School Counselor Association, and the National Association of School Psychologists
HEARD Alliance K-12 Toolkit for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention a Toolkit based on evidence based youth suicide prevention guidelines.
National Association of School Psychologists Preventing Youth Suicide
To Live to See the Great Day That Dawns Preventing Suicide by American Indian and Alaska Native Youth and Young Adults
Healthy Mind and Body: A Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Guide, resources from True Recovery
Effective Suicide Prevention Instructional video from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center
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.
OSPI's Suicide Awareness and Resources for Educators
2017-18 National Version - Making Educators Partners in Youth Suicide Prevention: ACT On FACTS; created by The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide is a free online training that is appropriate for anyone working in the school setting who would like more training on how to recognize warning signs and next steps for intervention. (Note: this training does not meet the training requirement for ESA certification/recertification.)
What is Complex Trauma? A Resource Guide for Youth and Those Who Care About Them, National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Conversations Matter a practical online resource to support safe and effective community discussions about suicide.
Safety Planning Intervention for Suicidal Individuals, free online training from New York State Center of Mental Health
"Saving Holden Caulfield: Long and Short-term Strategies for Preventing Youth Suicide" recorded webinar from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors
UW Medicine Center for Sexual Assault & Traumatic Stress
Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention: Suicide & Bullying: Preventing Suicide through Collaborative Upstream Interventions
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.
School staff have day-to-day contact with many young people, some of whom experience 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 students' behavior and act when they suspect that a student may be at risk of self- harm and/or suicide.
Specific steps should be followed in order to identify and help young people at risk, including a referral to someone in the school who has been trained to assess suicide risk. School systems should include efforts to recognize the warning signs, refer students to appropriate resources, and create reentry plans for students coming back to school after a crisis that coordinate with mental health treatment plans.
Warning Signs that require immediate action:
Warning Signs that may indicate a youth is at risk and needs to be referred for screening:
Responding to the Warning Signs:
It takes time and courage to reach out to students on a personal level, but your interest can be a lifeline to a child in crisis.
Risk Factors and Warning Signs from the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention
Now Matters Now offers research based ways for managing the most painful moments of life, teaches Mindfulness, Mindfulness of Current Emotion, Opposite Action and Paced-breathing.
Beyond Blue: Guiding their Way Back Information for people who are supporting someone after a crisis.
Suicide Safety Plan and Safety Planning Guide from Stanley and Brown recommendations
Gizmo's Pawesome Guide to Mental Health, safety planning appropriate for children
A Journey Toward Health and Hope a guide for recovery after a suicide attempt.
After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center
Suicide Postvention: The Role of the School Community After a Suicide Kognito recorded webinar using the After a Suicide Toolkit
After a Suicide Resource Directory offers links to resources for coping with grief, trauma, and distress - The downloadable Handbook guides people through the first steps toward recovery and a hopeful future after a suicide attempt.
Suicide Prevention Resource Center: Help and Hope Survivors of Suicide Loss
Suicide Prevention Resource Center: Survivors of Suicide Loss
Talking To your Kids about Depression and Suicide
Suicide Prevention Information for Parents, Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide
Teen Mental Health Issues and the "Not My Kid" Phenomenon
Understanding Self-Injury: What Parents Need to Know
Children, Teens, and Suicide Loss
How to Talk to a Child about a Suicide Attempt in Your Family
Suicide is a public health issue. Media and online coverage of suicide should be informed by using best practices. The way media cover suicide can influence behavior negatively by contributing to contagion or positively by encouraging help-seeking. See the following resources for best practices when reporting on a death by suicide: Reportingonsuicide.org
Talking About Suicide and LGBTQI Populations-Media Guide
Action Alliance Framework for Successful Messaging
How Facebook is Building a Safer Community with New Suicide Prevention Tools
Forefront 13 Reasons Why Media Statement & Talking Points
Social Media Campaigns that Promote Help-seeking
Take 5 to Save Lives
Seize the Awkward
King County Public Health Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences
Logic's 1-800-273-8255 music video
One Conversation Saved My Life YouTube video
We R Native For Native Youth, By Native Youth
Bring Change to Mind a high school program for students to develop Public Service Announcements promoting mental health.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides immediate assistance to individuals in suicidal crisis by connecting them to the nearest available suicide prevention and mental health service provider through a toll-free telephone number: (800) 273-TALK (8255).
Ayuda en Español
Lifeline Crisis Chat provides online emotional support, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention services. The chat specialists listen and support you through whatever difficult times you may be facing.
Crisis Text Line: Text HEAL to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds quickly.
Trans Lifeline 877-565-8860 This line is primarily for transgender people experiencing a crisis.
A Friend Asks Don't be afraid to ask for help for a friend or yourself.
MY3 Lets you stay connected when you are having thoughts of suicide.
Suicide Safe from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, this suicide prevention app will help providers integrate suicide prevention strategies into practice and address suicide risk.
Department of Health Youth Online Services and Resources
Department of Health Suicide Prevention Resource Map a new statewide tool: select the green submit button, and go to the map tab. Select boxes to filter map resources.
Forefront Suicide Prevention, University of Washington
Articles & Research:
Teen Suicide: "The Time for Secrecy is Over", Web MD
Preventing Suicide Breaking the Silence
8 Myths About Suicide That Every Educator and Parent Should Know
Evidence Shows Efficacy of Mental Health Programs in Schools
Caring Letters Prevent Suicide
Advancing Research to Prevent Youth Suicide
Advances in School Mental Health Promotion
The Good Behavior Game: An Effective Classroom Tool for Suicide Prevention, Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention recorded webinar.
National Resources on Suicide and Suicide Prevention:
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Suicide Prevention Resource Center
American Association of Suicidology
Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE)
Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide