Principals tell Education Week that students’ mental health and emotional well-being consistently top their list of concerns, and youth suicide rates add urgency to their schools’ work in those areas.
Suicides are the second leading cause of death for children ages 10 to 19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
Experts say schools can play a critical role in preventing suicide by recognizing students who may be at risk for harming themselves, by connecting those students with resources and support, and by building relationships throughout the school so that students have multiple people to turn to if they need help.
Education Week correspondent Lisa Stark explored how Freedom High, a suburban Virginia high school outside of Washington, is tackling the issue of student mental health head-on. As a starter, every student and teacher is educated about suicide prevention and students and staff are mobilized to support students who may be at-risk.
“If we’re not working on building our mental wellness for all our students, we’re missing a piece of education,” Principal Douglas Fulton says.
Want to learn more? Here are some other Education Week stories on mental health and youth suicide:
- Why Principals Need to Make Student Mental Health a Priority
- What Educators Need to Know About Suicide: Contagion, Complicated Grief, and Supportive Conversations
- Defeating Despair Through Social-Emotional Learning Programs
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.