High school suicide prevention
Suicidal thoughts, urges and behaviors can start at a young age, even before a child reaches middle and high school.
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Hoosiers ages 15 to 24 and the fourth-leading cause of death for those 5 to 14, according to the Indiana Youth Institute.
Research shows that 1 in 5 Indiana high school students have thought about suicide, and Indiana ranks in the top five when it comes to percentage of teenagers who either made a suicide plan or seriously thought about attempting the act. One study put Indiana as No. 2 when it came to suicide ideation among teenagers.
Hhigh school students and younger students should have an active role when it comes to reducing suicidal thoughts and behaviors among their peers. During adolescence, young people begin to define their own self worth in terms of their skills and influence. Their active participation in prevention efforts both brings their valuable voices to the table and gives them the ability to develop important decision-making and problem-solving skills.
Young people often turn to their peers to cope with social or emotional pain, and those friends can certainly have a positive effect. Educators have day-to-day contact with many young people and are well-positioned to observe students and to act. Parents should also be aware that they are key when it comes to recognizing warning signs in their children or their children’s friends.
Any high school suicide prevention framework and plan developed in Indiana should include protocols on how a school community will respond to a student’s death by suicide. If such an event occurs, it is imperative that the school is in a position to help students who are struggling with the situation. It is also important that schools know how to react when a student attempts to take his or her life and have a plan to ensure that student gets the proper assistance.