Schools are a key setting for suicide prevention. Teachers, behavioral health providers and all other school personnel who interact with students can play an important role in keeping them safe. This helps create an entire school community that is prepared to assist someone at risk of suicide.
Curriculum for schools
The following are evidence based or best practice programs that have been, or are currently being, utilized in South Dakota schools:
Crisis Planning for Schools
It is important for a school community to have a crisis plan in place, ideally before there is a suicide loss. This helps the school and others involved be aware of the critical roles they play in providing resources and support, as well as be able to respond in an organized manner following a death by suicide or suicide attempt.
Hazelden’s Lifelines’ “Postvention: Responding to Suicide and Other Traumatic Death”, an evidence-based curriculum for high schools, contains information designed to help schools proactively plan for those tragic times when a suicide does occur in the school community.
The Model school District Policy on Suicide Prevention: Model Language, Commentary, and Resources gives educators and school administrators clear guidance on how to implement suicide prevention, intervention and postvention policies in their school districts. The document was created by the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, The Trevor Project, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s (SPRC) library has an online postvention manual from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that is available for free download and contains a sample crisis plan, letter templates and resources related to suicide loss.
Training for Educators
South Dakota Codified Law 13-42-71 requires anyone applying for an initial or renewal certificate as a teacher, administrator or other education professional to participate in a minimum of one clock hour of suicide awareness and prevention training.
To learn more about this requirement and available training, click here.
The Helpline Center’s Text4Hope program provides crisis texting support for all high school students in the state of South Dakota. Since texting is the preferred means of communication for adolescents, offering a crisis texting program allows students to share their concerns privately with our trusted staff.
Students can text icare to 898211 to reach Helpline Center staff. Help is available 24/7.
Students will typically text in to talk about a variety of issues such as suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression, stress, concerns about a friend, relationship issues and family issues. With a simple text, individuals can connect with our professionally trained staff to receive support and resources.
The Helpline Center provides promotional materials (posters, referral cards) at no charge upon request for each high school to use with their students. Helpline Center staff also provide short presentations to the students to educate them about the texting program and suicide prevention. There is a speaking fee and travel expenses for the presentations.
If you would like a presentation or materials contact Sheri Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 605-274-1406.
- Preventing Suicide: The Role of the High School Mental Health Providers
- Preventing Suicide: The Role of the High School Teachers