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Newport-Mesa Recognizes Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
Posted 9/12/19

National Suicide Prevention Month Banner

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) would like to continue creating awareness and strengthening our efforts in shedding light on this highly taboo and stigmatized topic.

Nationwide Statistics:

  • There is an average of 123 suicides each day in the United States. 
  • Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in America — second leading for ages 25-34, and third-leading for ages 15-24.
  • 1 in 5 (more than 45 million) adults in the United States experience a mental health condition in a given year.
  • Half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75 percent by age 24, but early intervention programs can help.

Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. With effective care, suicidal thoughts are treatable, and suicide is preventable. Common barriers to treatment include the cost of mental health care and insurance, prejudice and discrimination, and structural barriers. People experiencing mental health conditions often face stigma, this can make their journey to recovery longer and more difficult.

Learning how to cope with stigma and how to avoid and address stigma are important for all of us. Warning signs can be subtle, but they are there. By recognizing these signs, knowing how to start a conversation and where to turn for help, we have the power to make a difference – the power to save a life.

  • Know the signs - For some, it's too difficult to talk about the pain, thoughts of suicide and the need for help. Pain isn’t always obvious, but most suicidal people show some signs that they are thinking about suicide. The signs may appear in conversations, through their actions, or in social media posts. If you observe one or more of these warning signs, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change, step in or speak up.
  • Find the words - When it comes to suicide prevention, finding the right phrase to start the conversation is crucial. 
  • Reach out - You are not alone in helping someone in crisis. There are many resources available to assess, treat, and intervene. Crisis lines, counselors, intervention programs are available to you, as well as to the person experiencing the emotional crisis.

If you know someone in crisis, don’t wait to make the call.

  • 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255  is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. You can also call or chat through the Lifeline website if you are concerned about someone else. 
  • 24/7 Crisis Text Line - Text “EMM” to 741741 to text confidentially with a trained crisis counselor for free.

California Statewide Resources:

“While suicide prevention is important to address year-round, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month provides a dedicated time to come together with collective passion and strength around a difficult topic,” said Director of Student Services Phil D’Agostino. “We can all benefit from honest conversations about mental health conditions and suicide to better support our community,” he said. 

Mental Health Support Services Within NMUSD:

NMUSD makes intentional efforts to help identify and support student and staff’s emotional wellbeing. Some of the resources and initiatives that our District offers, include:

  • District-wide curriculum rooted in social-emotional learning that helps transform schools into supportive, successful learning environments.
  • Student trainings (seventh and ninth grade students) on signs of suicide, how to access help and breaking the code of silence.
  • Educators District-wide are trained in identifying signs of suicide, what steps they can take, how to start the conversation with a student/parent and connecting them to the right resources.
  • Crisis response teams, highly qualified team of responders to be deployed in time of a critical incident.
  • While all staff at NMUSD knows the importance of suicide prevention and knows where to go for support, our district also has specialized staff (such as psychologists, counselors and social workers) to support all our schools. 
  • Suicide prevention signage is posted in all middle and high school restrooms that include information on how students can access help if they feel anxious, depressed or thinking about harming themselves.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is printed on all 7 through 12 grade student identification cards.

In collaboration with the Hoag Mental Health Center, we invite everyone to the Together We Prevent Suicide Series, a free half-day conference that will be tailored for youth (ages 12-17) and parents. The conference will provide attendees with strategies to talk about suicide, mental health, mitigate risk and to learn about self-care activities that benefit the entire family.
Visit NMUSD’s Mental Health and Outreach Services website to learn more about our services.