Lee's Summit R-7 School District
Staff

Suicide Prevention & Awareness

What’s the Problem?

Suicide is a serious public health problem that affects many young people. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24, and results in approximately 4,600 lives lost each year.

Deaths from youth suicide are only part of the problem. More young people survive suicide attempts than actually die. A nationwide survey of high school students in the United States found that 16% of students reported seriously considering suicide, 13% reported creating a plan, and 8% reporting trying to take their own life in the 12 months preceding the survey. Each year, approximately 157,000 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 are treated Emergency Departments across the U.S. for self-inflicted injuries.

Who’s at Risk?

Suicide among teens and young adults has nearly tripled since the 1940’s. Several factors can put a young person at risk for suicide; however, having risk factors does not always mean that a young person will attempt suicide. Risk factors include: family history of suicide; history of depression, other mental health problems, or incarceration; easy access to lethal means; alcohol and drug use; exposure to previous suicidal behavior by others; and residential mobility that might lessen opportunities for developing healthy social connections and supports.

Suicide affects all youth, but some groups are at higher risk than others. Boys are more likely than girls to die from suicide. Of the reported suicides in the 10 to 24 age group, 81% of the deaths were males and 19% were females. Girls, however, are more likely to report attempting suicide than boys. Native American/Alaskan Native youth have the highest rates of suicide-related fatalities. A nationwide survey high school students in the U.S. found Hispanic youth were more likely to report attempting suicide than their black and white, non-Hispanic peers.

Can It Be Prevented?

A number of prevention efforts are focused at detecting suicide warning signs. Signals that a young person may be contemplating suicide imminently include: Thinking or talking about or threatening suicide; seeking a way to kill oneself; increased substance abuse; feelings of purposelessness, anxiety, being trapped, or hopeless; withdrawing from people and activities; and expressing unusual anger, recklessness, or mood changes.

Prevention efforts take many forms, such as general suicide awareness education, school and community gatekeeper programs, screening and peer support programs, crisis centers and hotlines, restriction of access to lethal means, counseling and clinical interventions, and postvention (intervention with friends/family/community after a suicide takes place). Adults who supervise a young person can help prevent suicide by knowing the risk factors and warning signs, asking a youth they are concerned about if he/she has been thinking about suicide, and if necessary, providing a referral and making sure the person gets appropriate help as soon as possible.

If you know someone who is thinking of suicide, do this:

  • Ask questions and listen, especially to their feelings.
  • Go with them to get help.
  • Listen to what is said and treat it seriously. Do not debate, lecture, and argue about whether or not the teen feels suicidal.
  • Never leave a teen that is suicidal alone.
  • Ask if the teen has a plan. The more detailed the plan, the more at-risk the teen is.
  • If they refuse help, do not keep it a secret. Talk with a Mental Health Provider, Doctor, or call 911.

 
Incidents of suicide often increase after a suicide has occurred in a community and during the spring months, but suicide can happen at anytime of the year. It is always important to be aware of the emotions and behaviors of our children. The following information is provided to help you in dealing with suicidal behaviors:

The Warning Signs of Teen Suicide

 

  • Change in eating and sleeping habits.
  • Increased drug and alcohol use.
  • Noticeable personality change such as a depressed person suddenly becoming cheerful, compliant, well behaved, or a happy person becoming angry, rebellious, depressed.
  • Violent reactions, rebellious behavior, running away.
  • Persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, falling grades.
  • Loss of interest in friends, personal appearance, fun activities.
  • Focus on morbid or death themes which can also be expressed in writing or artwork.
  • Frequent complaints of stomachaches, headaches, fatigue –physical symptoms often related to emotions.
  • Prior attempt at suicide or family history of suicide.
  • Complaints of feeling “rotten inside”.
Verbal hints such as:

 

  • I won’t be a problem to you much longer.
  • Nothing matters; it’s no use.
  • I won’t see you again.
  • I wish I was never born.
  • People are better off without me.
  • Putting affairs in order, cleaning room, throwing or giving away important belongings.
  • Break up in relationship.
  • I won’t be a problem to you much longer.
  • Nothing matters; it’s no use.
  • I won’t see you again.
  • I wish I was never born.
  • People are better off without me.
  • Putting affairs in order, cleaning room, throwing or giving away important belongings.
  • Break up in relationship.
If You Know Someone Who Is Thinking of Suicide, Do This:

 

  • Ask questions and listen, especially to their feelings.
  • Go with them to get help.
  • Listen to what is said and treat it seriously. Do not debate, lecture, and argue about whether or not the teen feels suicidal.
  • Never leave a teen that is suicidal alone.
  • Ask if the teen has a plan. The more detailed the plan, the more at-risk the teen is.
  • If they refuse help, do not keep it a secret. Talk with a Mental Health Provider, Doctor, or call 911

LOCAL RESOURCES

 

 

For other local resources, look in the yellow pages under: “Mental Health, Counseling, Psychologists, Hospital, or Physicians.”

Phone Numbers

  • 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
  • 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Anti-Discrimination

In accordance with the provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as amended), Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, P.L. 93-112, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the regulations thereunder, it is the policy of the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District that no person shall, because of age, sex, race, disability, or national origin be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity of the District, including the employment of staff personnel. Written district policies concerning the rights and responsibilities of employees and students are available for inspection at the Stansberry Leadership Center (R-7 Administrative Offices), located at 301 NE Tudor. Inquiries by persons about their protection against discrimination under The Americans With Disabilities Act, Title IX, Title VI, or P.L. 93-112 and the Section 504 may be directed in writing or by telephone to: Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Lee’s Summit R-7 School District 301 NE Tudor Road Lee’s Summit, MO 64086 (816) 986-1000