Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

September Is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
September 1, 2016

Dear County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators:

SEPTEMBER IS SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS MONTH

The California Department of Education (CDE) recognizes September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. There are activities taking place in September which include the National Suicide Prevention Week on September 5–11, 2016, and World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, 2016.

Youth suicide is a preventable public health problem, yet it occurs at progressively high levels in California and across the nation. These activities in September provide important opportunities for school staff to join suicide prevention efforts and highlight the numerous activities organized to prevent suicides across California and the world.

Youth suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults between the ages of fifteen to twenty-four. Research demonstrates that 20 percent of students in kindergarten through twelfth grade classrooms suffer from a mental health issue that affects their relationships at home, in school, and the community. Often these students suffer silently, become alienated, and may be quietly contemplating suicide.

To promote student success inside and outside the classroom, we need to provide the tools and training to help school staff create a caring and supportive school environment. Early detection of student mental health issues by trusted adults and referrals for appropriate mental health care can save lives on school campuses across the state.

The CDE’s Project Cal-Well is offering free eight hour training in Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA). YMHFA is a valuable resource for youth-serving adults as it teaches specific skills that are critical during a mental health crisis, including suicidal ideation. It is our goal to increase awareness of mental health and wellness across the state’s educational system and train as many school staff as possible in YMHFA.

I encourage school districts to research local suicide prevention activities and identify their own resources to support student mental health and wellness. It is important for school districts to develop their own suicide prevention protocols and policies, so staff are prepared in the event of a suicide. For other suicide prevention resources and activities, please visit the following:

I recognize the importance of the health, safety, and well-being of our students, and believe mental health and wellness must be a top priority in our schools. By working together, we can increase awareness of the mental health issues our students face and reduce the number of student suicides.

Please join me in taking a stand to reduce youth suicide by promoting activities that inform, educate, give hope, and support youth who may be experiencing suicidal ideation.

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact Monica Nepomuceno, Education Programs Consultant, Educational Options, Student Support, and American Indian Education Office, by phone at 916-323-2212 or by e-mail at mnepomuceno@cde.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

Tom Torlakson

TT:mn
2016-06450

Last Reviewed: Monday, September 9, 2019

Recently Posted in Editorials & Letters

  • Adopt Comprehensive School Environment Resources (added 19-Feb-2020)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators regarding comprehensive school safety plans, legislative updates, and other resources.
  • 2019 Novel Coronavirus Guidance for Schools (added 14-Feb-2020)
    2019 Novel Coronavirus Guidance for Schools and School Districts
  • Census 2020 (added 11-Feb-2020)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and School Principals regarding the 2020 Census and making sure California’s school-aged children are counted.
  • National School Breakfast Week: March 2–6, 2020 (added 11-Feb-2020)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, Chief Business Officials, and Food Service Directors regarding National School Breakfast Week: March 2–6, 2020.
  • Sponsor for CA School Recognition Program (added 10-Feb-2020)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators regarding the Presenting Sponsor for 2019–2021 California School Recognition Program.

  • Raising Awareness of the Armenian Genocide (added 10-Feb-2020)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and School Principals regarding an essay and visual arts scholarship competition to raise awareness of the Armenian Genocide.
  • Public Charge Rule Update (added 29-Jan-2020)
    Public Charge Rule Does Not Impact Public Education and Programs Provided by Schools
  • 2020 Innovating for Equity Summit (added 29-Jan-2020)
    Final Reminder to register for the 2020 Innovating for Equity Summit
  • 2020 National Youth Science Camp (added 22-Jan-2020)
    Applications are open for the 57th annual National Youth Science Camp for high achieving, science-oriented students.
  • Tobacco-Free Campus Certification (added 17-Jan-2020)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators regarding Tobacco-Free Campus Certification.