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 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)


If you have suggestions, feedback, or resources, please email and let us know.