After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools | 57 Sample Media Statement To be provided to local media outlets either upon request or proactively. School staff were informed that a [AGE]-year-old student at [SCHOOL NAME] has died. The cause of death was suicide. Our thoughts and support go out to [his/her] family and friends at this difficult time. The school will be hosting a meeting for parents and others in the community at [DATE/TIME/LOCATION]. Members of the school’s Crisis Response Team [OR NAME SPECIFIC MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS] will be present to provide information about common reactions following a suicide, how adults can help youth cope, the emotional needs of adolescents, and the risk factors and warning signs for suicide. They will also address attendees’ questions and concerns. A meeting announcement has been sent to parents, who can contact school administrators or counselors at [PHONE NUMBER, EXTENSION] or [E-MAIL ADDRESS] for more information. Trained crisis counselors will be available to meet with students and staff starting tomorrow and continuing over the next few weeks as needed. Following is a list of warning signs and steps to take that were developed specifically for youth. Youth Warning Signs What to Do Leaders in the suicide prevention field agree that the following warning signs indicate a young person may be at risk for suicide: • • Talking about or making plans for suicide • • Expressing hopelessness about the future • • Displaying severe/overwhelming emotional pain or distress If you notice any of these signs in a student, take these recommended steps right away: 1. Do not leave the student alone and unsupervised. Make sure the student is in a secure environment supervised by caring adults until he or she can be seen by the school mental health contact. 2. Make sure the student is escorted to the school’s mental health professional. 3. Provide any additional information to the school’s mental health contact that will assist with the assessment of the student. What to Do • • Showing worrisome behavioral cues or marked changes in behavior, particularly in the presence of the warning signs above. Specifically, this includes significant: ○ ○ Withdrawal from or change in social connections or situations ○ ○ Changes in sleep (increased or decreased) ○ ○ Anger or hostility that seems out of character or out of context ○ ○ Recent increased agitation or irritability 1. Ask if the student is okay or if he or she is having thoughts of suicide. 2. Express your concern about what you are observing in his or her behavior. 3. Listen attentively and nonjudgmentally. 4. Reflect what the student shares and let the student know he or she has been heard. 5. Tell the student that he or she is not alone. 6. Let the student know there are treatments available that can help. 7. If you or the student are concerned, guide him or her to additional professional help, or to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a 24-hour toll-free phone line for people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).