Petition: Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Education in Schools
CW: This blog post discusses youth suicide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Leading Causes of Death Reports, in 2018 suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34.
In spite of these statistics, there are inconsistent requirements and delivery mechanisms in school curriculums across the United States. Analysis by TODAY found that, “at least nine states require a mental health curriculum by law. At least 20 states and the District of Columbia include mental health in their health or education standards…More than a dozen states appear not to require mental health education or incorporate it into their standards.”
Education for students specifically about suicide and suicide prevention, including warning sign recognition and how to seek assistance for themselves or their friends, is even more scarce.
In the absence of consistent and nationwide coverage on these issues provided by schools, individuals and mental health advocacy groups are pushing for change through petitions and other forms of activism. One such petition by Joseph Marques of Taunton, MA who is a member of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), makes note that COVID-19 is only further complicating and increasing the need for good mental health and suicide prevention education. You can read that petition here.
Further reading about mental health and suicide prevention in school can be found at these resources:
Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) Addressing Suicide Prevention in Schools
Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP): K-12 school suicide prevention
National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI): Mental Health in Schools
Mandated Mental Health Education Is Trending, But Is It Enough?
TODAY analysis: More states requiring mental health education by law
Why Mental Health Should Be Taught in Schools
Why Some Experts Think Suicide Prevention Should Begin in Elementary School
Mental Health Education Mandated Laws
Most U.S. Teens See Anxiety and Depression as a Major Problem Among Their Peers
What are your thoughts on providing mental health education and suicide prevention for K-12 students? Leave a comment below to join the discussion!