Suicide is one of the toughest tragedies students, staff, and the school system has to face. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for youth 15-24 years of age and the 3rd leading cause for 10-14 year olds in the United States. On average, two Wake County students every year die by suicide. It has a lingering effect on a community. Just like it takes a village to raise a child, all of us have a role in trying to protect our students, our children.
Trained school staff work daily to prevent suicide by identifying and assisting students who show warning signs or risk factors, which can include depression, mental health concerns, or thoughts of suicide. WCPSS professionals screen identified students, notify parents/guardians, and connect them with community services when appropriate to address their needs. We watch, we listen, we understand, and we do it without judgement. We never want suicide to be the solution to a student’s problems.
National mental health experts created this list of youth suicide warning signs. Read it. Recognize the red flags. Know what to do.
Youth Suicide Warning Signs
- Talking about or making plans for suicide
- Expressing hopelessness about the future
- Displaying severe/overwhelming emotional pain or distress
- Showing worrisome behavioral cues or marked changes in behavior, particularly in the presence of the warning signs above.
- Withdrawal from or changing in social connections/situations
- Changes in sleep (increased or decreased)
- Anger or hostility that seems out of character or out of context
- Recent increased agitation or irritability
If you notice any of these warning signs in anyone, you can help!
- Ask if they are ok or if they are having thoughts of suicide
- Express your concern about what you are observing in their behavior
- Listen attentively and non-judgmentally
- Reflect what they share and let them know they have been heard
- Tell them they are not alone and don’t leave them alone
- Let them know there are treatments available that can help
- If you are or they are concerned, guide them to additional professional help
Don’t think it can’t happen to you. More than one in 10 high school students have attempted to die by suicide. Don’t try to fix the problem on your own. Get expert help through a teacher, a counselor, or a medical or mental health professional. Please contact your child’s school and ask for assistance. If your needs are immediate, contact 911.
We don’t want to lose any students to suicide. We all need to work together and pay attention to our children, in the hopes of helping them and keeping them safe.
Download our suicide prevention flyer988 Suicide & Crisis Lifelinecall 988 (24/7)
Resources for depression and suicide prevention988 Suicide & Crisis Lifelinecall 988988lifeline.org
Over the phone crisis counseling and suicide intervention
24 Hour Crisis Line: 919-231-4525
Holly Hill Hospital
Emergency mental health services
24 Hour Crisis Line: 919-250-7000
UNC Crisis and Assessment (young children)
Emergency mental health services (located in Chapel Hill)
Crisis Line: 919-966-4131
Strategic Behavioral Center (ages 12-17)
Emergency mental health services
24 Hour Crisis Line: 919-800-4400
Alliance Behavioral Health
Mental Health options phone: 919-651-8500 (8:30-5:15 M-F)
Therapeutic Alternatives, Inc. (For use by parents after school hours)
Mobile Crisis Service for adults and children
24-hour Crisis Line: 1-877-626-1772
American Association of Suicidology
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention