“Schools have an essential role to play in preventing suicide and in promoting behavioral health among America’s young people” (SAMHSA, 2012). Advanced planning is critical in the effort to prevent youth suicide and to provide an effective crisis response. Key school personnel need to know that protocols exist to refer at risk students to trained professionals. The goal of this document is to ensure that our schools can participate fully in the broader community effort to prevent youth suicide and that, should a crisis arise, our schools are prepared to handle that crisis and restore the school to an environment focused on education as quickly as the situation allows.
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. This Toolkit is meant to serve as the implementation tool for these policies.
The Toolkit is a living document. A revised version that will be more user friendly will be available by early 2017. Enhancements will include information about what schools can do to promote youth well being before mental health concerns arise. Information about Elementary and Middle School youth social/emotional health, teens and sleep, means restriction, mindfulness, resources for families, media, schools and youth and more will be added.