Schools are key stakeholders in suicide prevention. There are more potential identifiers of a youth at risk of suicide in a school setting than any other. School faculty and staff are well positioned to observe students behavior and to act when a student is suspected to be at risk of suicide.
Comprehensive school based prevention programming is key to addressing youth suicide. School based suicide prevention programs often have various components that address prevention, intervention and postvention. “Gatekeeper trainings” that give faculty members the skills to recognize individuals at risk and make referrals to the appropriate services are an important piece of any school-based suicide prevention program.
School-based suicide prevention programs: Suicide Prevention Resource Centers Best Practice Registry.
It is essential that schools have a postvention plan in place before a tragedy happens. Postvention refers to the activities that occur after a suicide occurs to prevent contagion and help individuals and communities heal.
Postvention planning for schools: Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s After a Suicide: Toolkit for Schools
- Virginia Crisis Management and Emergency Response Guide, Virginia Department of Education, 2007
- Suicide Prevention Guidelines, Virginia Board of Education, 2003
The Campus Suicide Prevention Center of Virginia was established to support Virginia Universities and Colleges in reducing the risk for suicide across Virginia’s higher education settings by providing campuses with training, consultation and prevention resources. The Center’s mission is to reduce risk for suicide across Virginia’s higher education settings by providing campuses with training, consultation and prevention resources. Specifically, this program supports the individuals and teams on each campus as they work to build the infrastructure necessary to promote mental health for all students, identify and support those with mental health concerns and effectively respond to individuals who are at risk for suicide.
Services are available at no cost to all Virginia College and university campuses and are provided through a partnership between the Virginia Department of Health, and the Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services at James Madison University.
Military and Veterans
Studies estimate at least 300,000 of service men and women are suffering major depression or post-traumatic stress and an additional 320,000 are suffering from a traumatic brain injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that veterans account for approximately 20 percent of the deaths from suicide in America and individuals and the military and veterans are identified in the 2012 National Suicide Prevention Strategy as a group with increase risk for suicide.
The number of service members residing in Virginia makes the issue of active duty and veteran suicide particularly relevant for Virginia. A 2010 Office of the Chief Medical Examiner reports notes that 11% of all U.S. active duty members are stationed in Virginia, the second-highest number of all U.S. states and that Virginia is fourth among all states for the number of veterans per capita. The report goes on to indicate that 23% of all Virginia suicide decedents – and 29% of male suicide decedents – are active duty military or veterans.
There is help available. The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is available.
Veterans Crisis Line
1-800-273-8255 PRESS 1
Give an Hour
Give Help, Give Hope Give an Hour is a nonprofit organization providing free mental health services to U.S. military personnel and families affected by the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan deployment. Click here to search for providers by zip code.