Resources for Year-Round Youth Suicide Prevention
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 13 to 24, behind unintentional injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Staff of youth-serving agencies need to be alert for signs that a young person may be depressed or having suicidal thoughts.
September is Suicide Prevention Month, and it’s a good time to kick off year-round efforts to heighten staff members’ awareness about the youth behaviors that signal a young person may be contemplating suicide. Several online resources, designed originally for educators and community members, provide good tools for frontline staff who serve youth in social service agencies:
- The Trevor Project’s list of risk factors for suicide
- The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide’s FACTS handout that lists the warning signs of suicide (PDF, 169 KB)
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s list of resources for preventing, and helping young people grieve after, suicide
There are also several national hotlines that are well-equipped to handle crisis calls from young people:
- Trevor Lifeline. This number can be a lifesaving tool for a young person who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning and is in crisis. In addition to the Lifeline, there’s also TrevorChat (online instant messaging) and TrevorText.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This 24-hour hotline serves callers of all ages and has a special website for young adults seeking help. Young people who are military veterans, or are family members of service members or veterans, can press ‘1’ to speak with a veterans suicide prevention hotline specialist.
- Boys Town National Hotline. Available to talk, instant-message, text or email, these counselors specialize in helping a wide age range, from adolescence to early adulthood. They also encourage families and other concerned adults to call about a young person who is in crisis.
More on Youth Suicide Prevention
Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, the Family and Youth Services Bureau, or the Administration for Children and Families.