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Suicide & Suicidal Ideation

Suicide & Suicidal Ideation

Teen suicide has been on the rise over the years, with California experiencing one of the highest rates at 8.2 for every 100,000 each year. More than 15% of American high school students have admitted to seriously considering suicide, while 8.9% have made an attempt. Possible risk factors linked to these incidents of teen suicides include psychiatric disorders (like depression and bipolar conduct), gender dysphoria, bullying, social media, family issues, and a family history of depression. 

Suicide attempts among teenagers are also more prevalent among females, non-Hispanic black high schoolers, and students who identify as part of the LGBTQ community. California has since rolled out several policies to help curb the growing numbers in light of these statewide public health crises.

Online Suicide Prevention Training

Former Governor Jerry Brown added AB 1808 as Section 216 of California’s Education Code. This policy seeks to provide funding to schools so they may be able to help middle and high school students with suicidal ideation. The program took effect in April 2020, and schools will essentially provide online training to middle and high school students.

AB 2246

AB 2246 was a similar legislation (now EDC 215) that mandates local educational agencies (LEAs) to adopt a policy model on suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention for pupils in grades 7 – 12. Section 215 seeks to address the needs of high-risk students and provide training and awareness to licensed teachers. The California Department of Education also collaborates with mental health professionals to help LEAs develop their own policies. 

Warning Signs of Suicide in Teens

As a parent, guardian, or teacher, learning the warnings signs of suicide is one way to help prevent more incidents. Children and teens will typically display some or all of the signs below.

  • Frequent bouts of sadness
  • Changes in sleeping and eating habits
  • Sudden erratic behavior
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Complaints about physical symptoms related to emotions (headaches, abdominal pains or fatigue, etc.)
  • A decline in school and social activities
  • Substance abuse
  • Talking about death or dying

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