Only four states currently require that educators receive annual training to prevent suicide, (Alaska, Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee). To reduce the prevalence of suicide attempts among youth throughout the nation, school districts everywhere must take steps to have strong prevention policies in place and increase opportunities for suicide prevention training. Recognizing the importance of suicide prevention to the nation, in 2001 Surgeon General David Satcher released the first National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. This landmark document launched an organized effort to prevent suicide in the United States, culminating in The National Strategy for Suicide Prevention 2012: Goals and Objectives for Action. Goal 6: Implement Training For Recognition of At-Risk Behavior and Delivery of Effective Treatment identifies teachers and school personnel as “key gatekeepers” in suicide prevention.
State Statutes for Suicide Prevention in Schools
Determine what policies your state may already have in place or may be lacking. Review statutes in other states as a reference for model policies.
The Model School District Policy on Suicide Prevention, developed by national organizations leading suicide prevention efforts, can complement state law requirements and help educators and school leaders implement inclusive, comprehensive suicide prevention plans.
Best Practices Registry (BPR)
This registry provides a listing of evidence-based programs and interventions that have undergone evaluation and demonstrated positive outcomes. Utilize the BPR to identify, review, and disseminate information about best practices that address specific objectives of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.
Postvention: After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools
In collaboration with the federally-funded Suicide Prevention Resource Center, After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools is available to help schools in the aftermath of a suicide or other death. Developed in consultation with national experts, this toolkit offers a practical resource to schools facing real-time crises in diverse populations and communities. More information and numerous resources are available from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), and the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration. We encourage NEA members to share these resources and enlist colleagues to support your efforts in developing or strengthening your school’s suicide prevention efforts. We also encourage you to watch this powerful video and to remember that we are all “key gatekeepers” in our school communities.