Building Capacity & Welcoming Practices In Military-Connected Schools

The following post was submitted to the 100 Voices for Suicide Prevention campaign by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 1-877-726-4727. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

SAMHSA Provides Free Suicide Prevention Toolkit for High Schools

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents, and one in 15 high school students makes a suicide attempt each year. Suicide is preventable, but no single friend, family member, or school staff member can prevent it alone. Furthermore, after a student has taken his or her own life, the school community must come together to cope with this tragedy.

Many schools in the U.S. do not currently have procedures in place for dealing with suicide. Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools, available for free from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s store, is designed to help school staff and students develop protocols to help prevent and cope with suicide in schools.

The chapters highlight facts, give examples of successful practices, and provide templates and resources to enable staff and students to implement these practices at their school. Tools include protocols for responding to students at possible risk of suicide and for responding to a suicide death, thus preventing additional suicides (Chapter 1). The toolkit also discusses the importance of training–for school staff as well as for parents and guardians (Chapters 4 and 5). Finally, an exhaustive list of resources, including guides, information sheets, and training opportunities, is provided.