Prevention Resources - Youth Suicide
Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention
Little Lake City School District recognizes that suicide is a major cause of death among school-aged youth. The following resources regarding suicide awareness and prevention provide information for students, families, and school/district employees.
There’s no single cause for suicide. Suicide most often occurs when stressors and health issues converge to create an experience of hopelessness and despair. Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, and it is often undiagnosed or untreated. Conditions like depression, anxiety and substance problems, especially when unaddressed, increase risk for suicide. Yet it’s important to note that most people who actively manage their mental health conditions go on to engage in a healthy life.
Tips For Parents and Caregivers
- Talk to your child about suicide. Remain calm and establish a safe space. Be honest and supportive, and reassure your child that you care.
- Listen to your child's thoughts and feelings without judgement. Take your child's concerns seriously and try not to minimize his or her problems. Try to be compassionate and understanding.
- Remove access to firearms, weapons, and other potentially lethal means. Keep them locked and secured in an area where children cannot get them.
- Help your child identify and connect to caring adults to turn to when (s)he needs guidance and support. Remind your child that it is okay to ask for help.
- Know the risk factors and warning signs associated with suicide, such as the ones listed below.
Risk Factors and Warning Signs
There are many complex risk factors that contribute to suicidal behavior. In isolation the risk factors and warning signs listed below are not signs of suicidal thinking. If your child shows some or many of the behaviors below (especially the high risk signs in bold), it is important to be vigilant for warning signs of suicide. If you have concerns for the safety of your child please seek professional help from your child's school or a local mental health agency.
- Access to firearms, weapons, or other lethal means
- Acting out, angry, aggressive, or violent behavior
- Appetite or diet changes
- Arguments with guardian(s)
- Decline in grades or academic performance
- Dramatic change in attitude, mood, behavior, or activity level
- Exposure to suicide of friend, family member, or peer
- Extreme mood swings
- Family history of suicide (attempts or deaths)
- Feeling hopeless, trapped, or in unbearable pain
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches with no known cause
- Health problems (esp. new diagnosis or worsening symptoms)
- LGBTQ+ youth
- Looking for ways to die (researching online or buying items)
- Low self-esteem Mental health disorder (depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc.)
- Physical cruelty towards people or pets
- Preoccupation with death or dying
- Previous suicide attempts
- Recent death, or loss of significant relationship
- Reckless or risky behavior
- Reduced interest in previously important activities
- Running away from home
- Saying "goodbye," giving away prized possessions
- Self-harm or self-injury
- Sleeping too little or too much, nightmares or night terrors
- Social media posts about dying or suicide
- Substance use
- Suicide mentioned or depicted in writing or art
- Suicide notes, plans, or threats
- Talking about dying or wanting to kill oneself
- Threats to hurt or kill oneself
- Withdrawal or isolation from friends and family
Preventive and Protective Factors
One caring adult in the life of a child is the greatest protective factor there is!
- Connections to family, friends, schools, and communities
- Resilience, or ability to overcome difficulties
- Positive connections with adults other than parents like family members, teachers, school staff. Coaches, mentors, or religious leaders
- Cultural, religious, or personal values and beliefs that protect from suicide
- Access to mental health care
- “Life skills” and socio-emotional learning in areas like problem solving and coping
- A sense of meaning, purpose, or direction in life
- Willingness to ask for help when needed
Resources and Additional Information:
American Association of Suicidology: https://suicideology.org
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: https://afsp.org
Children's Safety Network: https://childrenssafetynetwork.org
The Jason Foundation: https://jasonfoundation.com
The JED Foundation: https://jedfoundation.org
Know The Signs: https://suicideispreventable.org
LA County Dept. of Mental Health: 1-800-854-7771 https://.dmh.lacounty.gov
National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention: https://actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): 1-310-889-7200 https://.nami.org
National Institute of Mental Health: https://nimh.nih.gov
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 https://.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Text "HELLO" to 741741
National Suicide Prevention (Spanish): 1-888-628-9454
SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education): www.save.org
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration www.samhsa.gov
Suicide Prevention Resource Center: https://sprc.org
TEEN-LINE (6PM-10PM): 1-800-852-8336
Trevor Project (LGBTQ+ youth): 1-866-488-7386 https://thetrevorproject.org