This Toolkit has drawn on evidence based national and state youth suicide prevention guidelines, including those issued by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), the University of South Florida (USF), and the states of California and Maine, among others. In California a suicide prevention policy is now required of all Public School Districts and Charter Schools serving students in 7th – 12th grades. This Toolkit is meant to serve as the implementation tool for this policy. A model youth suicide prevention policy can be found at the California Department of Education’s website: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/cg/mh/index.asp.
This Toolkit was created in 2013 in response to school communities’ need to address student mental and emotional wellness in order to prevent suicide and to provide evidence based information about how to intervene in a crisis or after a suicide loss. In 2016, California enacted Assembly Bill 2246 requiring public schools serving grades 7 to 12 to have a “Pupil Suicide Prevention Policy” by the 2017-18 school year. The California Department of Education’s model policy is linked here and in Appendix A1 of the Toolkit PDF. The Toolkit has been enhanced to reflect both this need and this policy requirement.
The intent of this easily navigated partial version of the Toolkit is to simplify access to the range of information the PDF contains for school administration, staff, parents/guardians and students. Promotion, Intervention and Postvention are all interconnected. However, schools and districts will vary in the services they already have and in those they identify as needed to implement the required policies. This web version is designed for schools to enter at any point in the process of promoting student behavioral health, intervening in a crisis or responding to a loss due to suicide. The complete PDF document can be viewed and downloaded below.
This is a living document. Information will be updated and added as needed.
Intervention protocols to identify and assist students in a crisis who may exhibit suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Included are tools for both districts and schools to respond and effectively minimize risk.
Postvention (interventions that are conducted after a suicide) assists students in ways that promote the mental health of the entire school community and supports students experiencing a mental health or suicidal crisis after the suicidal death of a school community member.
Promotion of mental health includes a comprehensive approach to wellness. Students need to be taught what mental health is and given the skills to achieve it, including the social-emotional skills needed for mental and physical well-being. These are defined in the Health Education Content Standards for California Public Schools.
In September 2016 the State of California enacted into law the Pupil Suicide Prevention Policy (AB2246) requirement for schools serving 7th – 12th grades. This Toolkit has been revised in order to support this law. It is meant to be used as a resource for schools as they implement their Pupil Suicide Prevention Policy.
The content of the Toolkit is drawn from State and National guidelines and from current research and recommendations regarding youth mental wellness and suicide prevention. The goal is to ensure that California schools can participate fully in their broader community’s effort to prevent youth suicide. Information about what schools can do to promote youth mental wellness before mental health concerns arise, how to recognize and respond to a mental health crisis, and how to support a school community after a suicide loss is included. Enhancements included are Social Emotional Learning, Mindfulness, Transitions, Social Media, Self-Care, Means Restrictions, and FAQs among others.
The Toolkit also supports a school’s primary goal to educate youth because mental wellness is essential to the ability to learn. Many have contributed their considerable knowledge, talent, and time to the development of this document. Their contributions to schools and to youth are greatly appreciated.