September is National Suicide Prevention Month, a month devoted to suicide prevention awareness. At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic downturn, and racial unrest across the country are taking a toll on the mental health of Americans, the focus on youth suicide prevention has never been more important. According to new data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is now the second leading cause of death amount high school-aged youths 14-18 years old.
Data highlighted in the CDC report indicates that during 2019, approximately one in five (18.8%) youths had seriously considered attempting suicide, one in six (15.7%) had made a suicide plan, one in 11 (8.9%) had made an attempt, and one in 40 (2.5%) had made a suicide attempt requiring medical treatment. And students who identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual were more likely to report a suicide attempt during the past year, with prevalence estimates highest among students who reported having sex with persons of the same sex or with both sexes (54.2%); and students who identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (46.8%).
One of the most staggering statistics in the CDC report is the dramatic increase in suicide rates among teens: “During 2009–2018, suicide rates among youths aged 14–18 years increased by 61.7% from 6.0 to 9.7 per 100,000 population.”
While teen suicide is a public health crisis, and a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention involves more than just the school community, the CDC recommends that schools can play an integral role in suicide prevention by:
Our mission is to help create safer and more inclusive schools. We have a variety of programs that can be incorporated into you overall suicide prevention program to support both school staff and students.
We recently hosted a webinar with youth suicide and school crisis expert, Dr. Scott Poland, on Youth Suicide: Prevention, Intervention, and Postvention in Schools. Watch this free webinar recording and share with your school staff.
The SafeSchools Online Training System includes a variety of expert-authored courses dedicated to helping your staff and students prevent incidents of suicide, including:
We also offer our SafeSchools Alert Tip Reporting System that allows students, staff, and parents to confidentially report safety concerns, including concerns about the health and well-being of peers, to your administration 24/7/365 via mobile app, text, phone, email, and website.
For more information on how Vector Solutions’ SafeSchools programs can support your school or district prevention efforts, contact us at 1-800-434-0154 or request a free trial today.