Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released a new toolkit that is aimed at being part of a nationwide effort to help the one out of every fifteen high school students who attempt suicide each year. This toolkit, Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools, will assist high schools and school districts in designing and implementing strategies to prevent suicide and promote behavioral health. It includes tools to implement a multi-faceted suicide prevention program that responds to the unique needs and cultures of students. It provides guidelines for school administrators, principals, mental health professionals, health educators, guidance counselors, nurses, student services coordinators, teachers and others for identifying those teenagers who are at risk and it provides resources for taking appropriate actions to provide help.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, said, “Our young people need to know they can work through tough times and help is available. This new tool kit will help adults identify young people who are struggling and guide them through the challenges they face.”

The tool kit is based on years of practical experience in high school suicide prevention programs. It draws upon the elements that are easily adaptable to any high school setting.  In addition, it provides high schools with useful information on the many federal, state and community programs that are available to help strengthen their suicide prevention efforts, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. By calling 1-800-273-TALK, the call is routed to the nearest crisis center. There are currently 150 crisis centers across the nation that are ready and willing to help. Since the launch of the hotline, it has answered over 3 million calls.

“Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents in our nation. Every one of these deaths is preventable,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “Everyone has a role to play in suicide prevention by building supportive communities and reaching out to help someone in crisis. By working together we can all help save lives.”

For more information and to download the full toolkit, visit here.

To see the full press release, visit here.

For more resources on suicide prevention and mental health:

SAMHSA’s Suicide Prevention: Resources and Publications

Youth Mental Health