September: Suicide Prevention Awareness
As we welcomed students back into the building this fall, it became clear how important the sense of belonging and physically being together has been for so many of our staff and students. The experience of remote learning and adjusting to how the pandemic has affected education has highlighted the importance of emotional well-being for our entire community. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has identified September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month to help promote awareness and recognition around the issues of suicide prevention and how to have appropriate and meaningful dialogue regarding the topic of mental health.
Throughout this month, the LT community will bring light to suicide awareness in a variety of ways to impart the important message that we all play a role to speak up and get ourselves and others support when we see warning signs. Announcements will be read, ribbons will be worn and lessons will be taught as we shine a light on a topic that is often difficult to discuss and uncomfortable to hear. By normalizing this conversation, our students will build the skills to recognize the warning signs and speak up to help others find the support they need. We invite you to join us in having these same conversations at home with your students, a guide to tips for parents to avoid youth suicide is attached to this email to support this conversation.
The Counseling & Student Services Offices also want you to be aware of some important resources available to all families.
ReferralGPS - This online resource compiles mental health supports in the surrounding communities and includes important insurance information so your family can match providers with your health insurance provider. Unique areas of specialty are able to be searched to find the best fit for your family’s needs. Access to the site can be found here.
Suicide Hotline - This year, the State of Illinois mandated the suicide hotline phone number be printed on the back of all student ID cards in high schools across the state. Your student now has immediate access to this resource with them each day.
LTHS Speak-Up Line - Community members are encouraged to R.O.A.R. (Reach Out and Report) concerns they have with bullying or other threats to school safety. Students have the choice to report anonymously, and if the concern is an immediate threat, we encourage students to call 911.
Four ways one can report:
The Be Smart Campaign was created to bring together all responsible adults to reduce suicides and the number of unintentional shootings that occur when children and youth get access to an unsecured firearm. In fact, 40 percent of child gun deaths are suicides- more than 600 child gun suicides each year. If interested, we encourage you to explore their website for blogs and videos to facilitate discussion with your family.
The prevalence and acuity of mental health concerns for students and families is at an all-time high, and as a school community, rallying around this cause will impart the message to students that we are called to act when those around us need help. We appreciate your partnership in bringing these conversations into your home to normalize the conversation and destigmatize mental health. If you have concerns, we encourage you to seek support through someone in Student Services or to explore ReferralGPS to familiarize yourself with appropriate services.
We are LT!
Division Chair for Counseling & Student Services