Warning Signs of Suicide
• Talking about wanting to die
• Looking for a way to kill oneself
• Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
• Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
• Talking about being a burden to others
• Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
• Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
• Sleeping too little or too much
• Withdrawing or feeling isolated
• Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
• Displaying extreme mood swings
The more of these signs a person shows, the greater the risk. Warning signs are associated with suicide but may not be what causes a suicide.
What To Do
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide:
• Do not leave the person alone
• Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt
• Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention
Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)
• Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional
There are 3,041 suicide attempts every single day. Someone knows each and every person who attempted. You can be the person and the school who helps.
Four Reasons Why Schools Should Address Suicide
- Maintaining a safe school environment is part of a school’s overall mission. There is an implicit contract that schools have with parents to protect the safety of their children while they are in the school’s care (loco parentis).
- Students’ mental health can affect their academic performance. Mental health issues can interfere with the ability to learn and can affect academic performance which can, in turn, leave students feeling sad or hopeless.
- A student suicide can significantly impact other students and the entire school community. Adolescents can be susceptible to suicide contagion when the suicide is poorly handled.
- Schools have been sued for negligence for the following reasons:
- Failure to notify parents if the child appears suicidal
- Failure to get assistance for a student at risk of suicide
- Failure to adequately supervise a student at risk of suicide
- Failure to have a suicide prevention program or policy (per AB2246) (Ed. Code 215)
- Failure to address suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention (aftermath)
How to Boost Mental Health on Your Campus
- Communities and parents have shared responsibility in protecting students’ mental health. Schools can educate their communities about mental health plus teach the signs of depression and suicidal behaviors.
- Schools should have a good, anonymous reporting system where students can report harmful behaviors of their peers. Contact California Schools JPA for reporting programs that we have seen great success with.
- Schools must build a culture about reporting bullying and harmful behaviors. Students need to be aware that they are critical in preventing a schoolmate’s suicide. Start this on your campus: “A friend is a friend who reports”
Contact California Schools JPA for additional help and resources to educate your communities, build cultures of reporting, and create plans for after a tragedy.