Parents, educators, mental health professionals, and legislators are making a concerted effort to address the critical need to prevent youth suicides in California.
Assembly Bill 2246 (O’Donnell) addressed this issue by requiring school district's to adopt suicide prevention policies before the beginning of the 2017–18 school year. The policy shall specifically address the needs of high-risk groups, include consideration of suicide awareness and prevention training for teachers, and ensure that a school employee acts only within the authorization and scope of the employee’s credential or license.
Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for youth ages thirteen to eighteen and also is a leading cause of death among ten- to-twelve-year olds. Students in earlier grades also are known to consider, attempt, and die by suicide. Research demonstrates that ideation may start as early as pre-school (however, suicide deaths are very rare among children age nine years or younger).
The board policy must be developed in consultation with school and community stakeholders, school-employed mental health professionals, and suicide prevention experts. At a minimum, the board policy must address procedures relating to suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.
Fact Sheets on Suicide: Adolescents and Young Adults
The National Adolescent Health Information Center, University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, highlights some important research results on suicide. It provides information about the age adolescents are most likely to commit suicide, how gender and race impact adolescents in regard to suicide, and examines the suicide rate trends for adolescents. This Suicide Fact Sheet was published in 2006 and is based on the most current data available.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
The AFSP is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.
Know the Signs
Know the Signs is a statewide suicide prevention social marketing campaign built on three key messages: Know the Signs. Find the Words. Reach Out. This campaign is intended to educate Californians on how to recognize the warning signs of suicide, how to find the words to have a direct conversation with someone in crisis and where to find professional help and resources.
The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide
This resource provides practical information about youth suicide prevention that is relevant to schools, parents, and students. This national, nonprofit organization increases awareness about both the problem of youth suicide and increases accessibility to user-friendly resources available to prevent it.
Walk in Our Shoes
This campaign utilizes real stories from teens and young adults to teach youth about mental health challenges and mental wellness. The multifaceted campaign uses positive, authentic, and appropriate stories told through an interactive Web site, school-based theatrical performance, and a statewide public education campaign.