According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for youth 15-24 years of age and the 3rd leading cause for 10-14 year olds in the United States. Suicide is tragic and it has a lingering effect on a community. All of us have a role in trying to protect our students.
Trained school staff work daily to prevent suicide by identifying and assisting students who show warning signs or risk factors, which can include depression, mental health concerns, or thoughts of suicide. LCPS professionals screen students, notify parents/guardians and connect them with community services when appropriate to address their needs. Suicide is never the solution to a student's problems.
National mental health experts have created this list of youth suicide warning signs.
Youth Suicide Warning Signs
- Talking about or making plans for suicide
- Expressing hopelessness about the future
- Displaying severe/overwhelming emotional pain or distress
- Showing worrisome behavioral cues or marked changes in behavior, particularly in the presence of the warning signs above.
- Withdrawal from or changing in social connections/situations
- Changes in sleep (increased or decreased)
- Anger or hostility that seems out of character or out of context
- Recent increased agitation or irritability
If you notice any of these warning signs in anyone, you can help!
- Ask if they are ok or if they are having thoughts of suicide
- Express your concern about what you are observing in their behavior
- Listen attentively and non-judgmentally
- Reflect what they share and let them know they have been heard
- Tell them they are not alone and don’t leave them alone
- Let them know there are treatments available that can help
- If you are or they are concerned, guide them to additional professional help
Don’t think it can’t happen to you. Studies show that more than one in 10 high school students have attempted suicide. Don’t try to fix the problem on your own. Get expert help through a teacher, a counselor, or a medical or mental health professional. Please contact your school and ask for assistance. If your needs are immediate, call 911.
For help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.