The topic of suicide, whether considered, attempted, or completed, has been stigmatized by society for many years.  Fortunately, increased awareness and support is becoming available as the reality of mental illness as a precursor is more accepted.


The topic of suicide, whether considered, attempted, or completed, has been stigmatized by society for many years.  Fortunately, increased awareness and support is becoming available as the reality of mental illness as a precursor is more accepted.  School counselors should be at the forefront of being knowledgeable about the myths and facts concerning suicide, as well as means of support.


  • Most people (of any age) are experiencing some form of mental illness at the time they consider, attempt, or complete suicide.
  • If warning signs are known, almost all instances of suicide are preventable.


  • (Added 01/05/05, Jason Murrey/Michelle Clarke, IDOE): Through the utilization of the Mental Health Awareness Training (MHAT) grant, Indiana Department of Education has partnered with Sources of Strength, to provide evidence-based suicide prevention and mental health education programs, curriculum, and resources.  Fall of 2023, this partnership provided training to more than 40 educators and delivered curriculum to 20 elementary schools.  Beginning this year, we are able to offer two high schools the sources of strength peer-to-peer / adult advisor evidence-based suicide prevention program for free.  All costs of implementation, training and materials are covered by this grant and the selected schools will be provided these resources for three years.  The selected school will work with Sources of Strength directly in selecting training days and consultation for setting up their adult advisory group for their students.  This being a federal grant, no stipends can be offered. More information regarding Sources of Strength Peer Leader and Adult Advisor Program can be found here . Please note that you will want adult advisors from the community and not just the school. Link to application can be found here. APPLICATIONS CLOSE @ Midnight, January 19, 2024.  The two schools chosen will be announced in Dr. Jenner’s January 26th, 2024 newsletter.
  • (ASCA Aspects, September, 2023): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) Toolkit: SAMSHA has created a toolkit for the 988 Lifeline. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) offers 24/7 call, text and chat access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal, substance use and/or mental health crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. The toolkit is a collection of social media, video, print, radio, FAQs, messaging and other materials for anyone to use to promote awareness of 988. Access it here.
  • (IDOE Update, August 25, 2023): Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Training: IDOE’s Office of Student, School, and Family Engagement is offering free in-person QPR suicide prevention training. QPR is an evidence-based program that ensures every participant will be able to recognize the signs of someone in distress who is possibly having suicidal thoughts, engage, and work to deescalate the crisis. This training is two hours in length and can count toward professional growth plan (PGP) points for licensure renewal. Contact Jason Murrey if you are interested in having this training at your facility.
  • (Added 8/22/23) ASCA Resources: Suicide Prevention and Response: You can find several resources HERE, including a Suicide Prevention Information Gathering Tool
  • The JED Foundation: The Jed Foundation (JED) and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, has announced a multiyear initiative to develop and deploy a comprehensive approach to mental health and suicide prevention for school districts.The District Comprehensive Approach will provide Pre-K through 12 school districts across the nation with an evidence-based framework—combined with expert support, best practices, and data-driven guidance—to protect mental health and prevent suicide for millions of students. Research confirms that implementing comprehensive mental health systems improves student well-being and mental health outcomes while strengthening school climate and safety and improving academic outcomes. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people ages 10 to 34 in the United States and parents cite mental health as a top concern for their children under 18; creating school environments that support children’s mental health is more critical than ever. School districts provide critical infrastructure through policies and procedures that have a direct impact on the lives of children. The District Comprehensive Approach derives from JED’s evidence-based High School Comprehensive Approach, allowing JED to reach millions more children with the support they need. Through this framework, school districts will ensure that systems support the mental health of—and reduce suicide risk for—all students. Read more about JED’s partnership with AASA in EdWeek! Find more information and resources at
  • Prevention Training:
  • ASCA’s position statement on social/emotional development:
  • Suicide Prevention & Response: A Comprehensive Resource Guide for Indiana Schools
  • Suicide Prevention Week Guidance Update Newsletter from Morgan Township (IN) Middle-High School
  • What We All Want to Say About Suicide (YouTube video)
  • The Kevin Hines Story (YouTube video)
  • To This Day Project (YouTube video)
  • Ryan’s Story-Presentation for Schools (YouTube video)
  • NBAS Risk Screening Form
  • ASCA’s position statement on student mental health:
  • ASCA’s position statement on at-risk intervention:
  • After a Suicide Toolkit for Schools
  • Coalition to Support Grieving Children 
  • Suicide Safety Plan Resources (Counselor Talk, August 2018)
  • Model School District Policy on Suicide Prevention: Model Language, Policy and Resources (ASCA)
  • Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools (SAMHSA)
  • The Trevor Project (unique resources for LGBTQ youth)
  • Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale


  • (Added 11/29/23, Counselor Talk):
    • Q: What does the new law state regarding informing parents prior to delivering lessons about child abuse prevention and suicide prevention?? Do we need to inform? Do they opt in or opt out?
    • A: IDOE advises that there is not a requirement to notify parents of the child abuse trainings (suicide training is not required for students, just staff).  It IS advised though that schools add it in the student handbook, linking to any curriculum used.  That would give parents an opportunity to review and opt-out if they want.   IDOE is aware and apologizes for the confusion with HEA 1447 as opt in, but for abuse training schools are not asking for any thoughts, beliefs, etc., so opt out is still appropriate.  Also see: House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1447 Legislatively-Required Guidance
  • Q: I have a 5th grade student who’s parent died by suicide over the summer. I have given him a journal to write about his feelings. He flies through all the journal prompts I give him. His grandparents are in the process of getting him into counseling. I found a grief flip book on TpT that I just gave him. Does anyone have any other grief activities or writing prompts I could use with him?
  • Q: I had a parent ask if Indiana require Suicide Prevention Lessons for students (Grade 4 and up). We are planning to present it as Coping Skills when you are feeling overwhelmed. We have a parent letter to send home that explains the lesson in context of Suicide Prevention Month, but that we would not be using the word “suicide” in our presentation.
  • Q: I was wondering if you had any suicide assessment that you feel are useful in a school setting.
  • Q: What hotline numbers have you suggested to students or parents that have actually been helpful? (from Counselor Talk, February 2020)
    • A:
    • Crisis Textline
    • 1800TalkNow
  • Spike in suicides among teenage boys
  • Peer Tutoring & Suicide Prevention (from Counselor Talk, February 2019)
    • Some schools have trained their Peer Mentors in the QPR program or a modified version of it.
    • Sources of Strength
  • Question: Does anyone have an information night for parents about suicide awareness/prevention?
  • Suicide prevention lessons for middle school (Counselor Talk, December 2018)
    • We work with Brian Harvey from Positive Approach to Teen Health and have had great feedback.
    • I too have had the opportunity to work with Positive Approach to Teen Health’s team over the past decade, as a School Counselor and subsequently as an Administrator. I have had nothing but solid, positive interaction and results for my students.
    • Our program “Positive Potential” has a lesson within it that deals specifically with suicide awareness and prevention. We serve several schools throughout NWI and we have had significant positive outcomes around this topic:
      PATH, Inc., Portage, IN,
  • Question: Do you post suicide prevention information in your junior or senior high school hallways, cafeterias, etc.?  (From Counselor Talk, August 2018)
    • Responses:
    • We purchased some positive message decals through  They are mirror decals with a variety of positive messages but they also include some suicide hotline clings.  We used these in combination in all of our restrooms.  (Lebanon High School)
    • I post information about suicide prevention at my high school, such as:1) Suicide prevention information and hotline/text numbers. (Note: Typically, teens prefer texting a crisis line rather than calling).
      2) I have Lifeline cards that I distribute to students.
      3) Check out my FB page at LPHS Slicer Support Services for postings about suicide prevention. (LaPorte High School)
  • Risk Assessment info from Counselortalk (Sept. 2017)
  • Suicide Screening: My recommendation is the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (evidence-based tool).  Screening Tool and the full assessment. It is important that anyone that would be assessing and/or screening receive training on these tools.  (From Dr. Brandie Oliver, Counselor Talk, November 2017)
  • This is one of the ways we are attempting to counteract the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”: Response from Counselor Talk13 Reasons Why You Matter
  • Frequently Asked Questions from Teachers on Indiana’s New Mandatory Suicide Prevention Training (from LaPorte High School)


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