Picture of hands holding Suicide Awareness Month Logo: #BeThe1To

 

Prince William County Public Schools recognizes September as 

SUICIDE PREVENTION MONTH

Prince William County Schools is partnering with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Office of Student Services and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to share information and resources on suicide prevention.

According to the 2019 Virginia Youth Survey, 16 percent of high school students indicated that they seriously considered attempting suicide (in the 12 months prior to taking the survey). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data indicates that suicide is the second leading cause of death in children aged 10-14 and youth aged 15-24.

The PWCS Office of Student Services is committed to prioritizing student mental health wellness and ending the stigma associated with seeking mental health help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's message for this year's Suicide Prevention Month is #BeThe1To. Please visit this webpage throughout the month of September for resources on how you can recognize and help those around you who may be struggling.

 

WEEK FIVE: #BeThe1To Follow Up

Graphic of Suicide Prevention Month logo  which reads Be the One to Ask, Be There, Keep Them Safe, Connect, and Follow UP, highlighting Follow Up

The last week of Suicide Prevention Month focuses on #BeThe1To Follow Up. Suicide prevention is a community effort and when a person has expressed thoughts of suicide, follow-up should occur from the different people in their lives.  After initial contact with a person experiencing thoughts of suicide occurs and connecting the individual to appropriate resources to include family and school systems, it is important to continue to check in and keep the conversation going. 

Family and peers can send text messages, calls, or just a voicemail with words of acknowledgment, support, and encouragement. The school and community treatment providers can routinely check in with the student to ensure any supportive strategies are assisting and adjusting to fit the student’s current needs. Supportive and ongoing contact can increase a person’s sense of connection and may be an important element of suicide prevention.

The #RealConvo Guides by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has published a guide to assist: How to Start (and Continue) a Conversation About Mental Health: A #RealConvo Guide.

Suicide Hotline 1-800-784-2433 or 1-800-273-TALK

Potomac High School - Staying Connected

Prince William County Schools offer an abundance of clubs, sports, and activities students can participate in to keep them connected to other students and school staff. Potomac High School shares their wide variety of activities available at their school throughout the year.

Saunders Middle School - Keeping Students Connected

Saunders Middle School will be providing students the opportunity to sign up for clubs online during 2nd period on September 24.  Students and parents can also visit the Flipgrid to watch Saunders Club sponsors talk about their clubs.  In the photos below, students are shown participating in the Strategic Gaming Club, Student Council Association, and the Robotics Club.   Visit the Saunders Middle School Student Clubs & Organizations webpage for more information. 

Photo of two Saunders Middle School Student playing chess in Strategic Games Club
Photo of five Saunders Middle School students playing a game of Monopoly in Strategic Games Club
Photo of two Saunders Middle School students standing in front of a Student Council Association Banner on the wall
Photo of three Saunders Middle School students from the Robotics Club

Parent Resources

Resources for School-Based Mental Health Professionals

Suicide Prevention Month Weekly Webinars for School-Based Mental Health Professionals - VDOE

Toolkits for Schools

Electronic Toolkit for Schools  (Virginia Department of Education) This website provides schools with printable Recognize. Talk. Act. posters, social media graphics, and additional resources found below:

Image with text: Recognize. Talk. Act. Suicide is Preventable

Fostering School Connectedness: Improving Student Health and Academic Achievement
Information for School Districts and School Administrators - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Introducing Classroom WISE: Well-Being Information and Strategies for Educators

Classroom WISE is a FREE 3-part training package that assists K-12 educators in supporting the mental health of students in the classroom. Developed by the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Network in partnership with the National Center for School Mental Health, this package offers evidence-based strategies and skills to engage and support students with mental health concerns in the classroom.

 What Every Teacher Should Know About Preventing Youth Suicide (PDF) - Virginia Department of Health

School Connectedness: Strategies for Increasing Protective Factors Among Youth (PDF) - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Suicide Prevention Resources - Virginia Department of Education

#BeThe1To Messaging Toolkit - 2021 (PDF)

#BeThe1To Messaging Toolkit - 2021 - Spanish (PDF)

 

Student Resources

Adolescent Connectedness: Youth Connectedness Is an Important Protective Factor for Health and Well-Being Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

What are Friends For?  Suicide is not the Answer (PDF) - Virginia Department of Health

Suicide Prevention: If you Know Someone in Crisis - National Institute of Mental Health

Resources: Text, Chat, or DM - Find the Right Words for Any Scenario - Seize the Awkward

The Awkward Silence | Friendship & Mental Health | Ad Council

 

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