2145P - Suicide Prevention Procedure
Suicide prevention strategies may include, but are not be limited to, efforts to promote a positive school climate that enhances students’ feelings of connectedness with the school and each other, and is characterized by caring staff and harmonious interrelationships among students.
1. Student Health Education Program
The District’s comprehensive health education program will promote the healthy mental, emotional, and social development of students including, but not limited to, the development of problem-solving skills, coping skills and self-esteem. Developmentally appropriate suicide prevention instruction will be incorporated into the health education curriculum and designed to help students:
- Identify and analyze signs of depression and self-destructive behaviors and understand how feelings of depression, loss, isolation, inadequacy and anxiety can lead to thoughts of suicide;
- Identify alternatives to suicide and develop coping and resiliency skills;
- Learn to listen, share feelings and get help when communicating with friends who show signs of suicidal intent; and
- Identify trusted adults, school resources, and/or community crisis intervention resources where youth can get help and recognize that there is no stigma associated with seeking mental health, substance abuse and/or suicide prevention services.
2. Student Responsibility
The District will encourage students to notify a teacher, principal, counselor or other adult when they are experiencing depression or thoughts of suicide or when they suspect or have knowledge of another student’s despair, violent thoughts, or suicidal intentions.
3. Staff Training
The District’s suicide prevention training will help staff identify and respond to students at risk of suicide. The training will be offered under the direction of a District counselor/ psychologist, or nurse and/or in cooperation with one or more community mental health or public health agencies and may include information on:
- Identifying risk factors such as previous suicide attempts, history of depression or mental illness, substance use problems, bullying and harassment, family history of suicide or violence, feelings of isolation, interpersonal conflicts, a recent severe stressor or loss, family instability and other factors;
- Warning signs that may indicate suicidal intentions, including changes in students’ appearance, personality or behavior;
- School and community resources/services; and
- District procedures for intervening when a student attempts, threatens, discloses the desire to commit suicide or displays other indicators.
4. Principal/Designee Prevention Planning
School administrative teams will designate specific individuals to be promptly contacted regarding a suicide threat including the school counselor, psychologist, nurse, superintendent, mental health worker, student support coach, case manager, or the student’s parent/guardian and, as necessary, local law enforcement or mental health agencies.
The principal or counselor will develop a reentry plan, including a student/staff support plan for use after a suicide attempt.
Whenever a staff member suspects or has knowledge of a student’s suicidal intentions he/she will take proper steps to support the student, promptly notify the principal, assistant principal, and school counselor and request that appropriate school staff conduct an initial risk interview.
The principal or counselor will then notify the student’s parents/guardians as soon as possible, unless notification of the parents will jeopardize the student’s safety. The District may also refer the student to mental health resources in the community.
Additionally, the principal or designee will ensure the student’s physical safety by one of the following as appropriate:
- Secure immediate medical treatment if a suicide attempt has occurred;
- Secure emergency assistance if a suicidal act is being actively threatened;
- Keep the student under continuous adult supervision until the parent/guardian and/or appropriate support agent or agency can be contacted and has the opportunity to intervene;
- Document the incident and disposition in writing as soon as feasible;
- Follow-up with the parent/guardian and student, in a timely manner, to provide referrals to appropriate services as needed;
- Provide access to counselors or other appropriate personnel to listen to and support students and staff who are directly or indirectly involved with the incident; or
- Provide an opportunity for all who respond to the incident to debrief, evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies used and make recommendations for future actions
C. Parent Responsibility
If a student is determined to be at risk, the principal or designee will contact the parent/guardian and:
- Ask the parent/guardian whether he or she is aware of the student’s mental state;
- Ask the parent/guardian how he/she will obtain mental counseling or appropriate support for the student;
- Provide names of community counseling resources, if appropriate, and offer to facilitate the referral;
- Determine the parent’s/guardian’s intent to seek appropriate services for the student; and
- Discuss the student’s reentry into school.
The District’s suicide prevention policy and procedure and the crisis intervention plan will be available for all staff, students and community through the student, staff, volunteer and parent/guardian handbooks, school websites, and in school and District offices.
All requests for specific information regarding an incident will be directed to the building principal or designee.
The District will utilize school counselors, the crisis telephone hotline, physician/health care providers, mental health specialists, student support coaches, coaches and youth leaders, parents and clergy as resources for prevention and intervention. The District will also develop partnerships with community organizations and agencies and a memorandum of understanding with at least one of these programs for referral of students to support services. Community resources include:
1. Prevention Resources:
- Washington Youth Suicide Prevention Program, www.yspp.org, 206-297-5922;
- Washington State Department of Health, www.doh.wa.gov/preventsuicide; 360-236-2800;
- 211 System – This is an information referral service, it assists with providing resources in your community.
2. Crisis Response Resources:
- Emergency Response: 911
- Local Crisis Hotline ();
- ational LifeLine: 1-800-273 and Talk (8255)