Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for children, adolescents, and young adults ages 10 to 24. (Centers for Disease Control Prevention)The School Board of the City of Norfolk believes it is the collective responsibility of all staff and administration to protect the health, safety and well-being of all students, to promote healthy development, to safeguard against the risk or attempt of suicide among school-aged youth, and to address barriers to learning.
S: Spread the word. Know the signs of suicide. Recognize when someone is in crisis and report your concern to a trusted adult. Recognize the signs in yourself and seek support or treatment.
A: Access help! Learn the resources available to support students (and staff) in emotional distress.
F: Flag or tell an administrator or trusted adult about concerns with students/staff.
E: Engage in self-care. Mentally healthy students are successful students!
Making a DifferenceAt Norfolk Public Schools, we want all of our students and staff to be S.A.F.E.!People who kill themselves often have given definite signals or talked about suicide. The key to prevention is to know these signs and what to do to help. All Norfolk Public Schools faculty and staff are trained to recognize warning signs and are able to assist students in accessing appropriate resources.
WARNING SIGNS AND RISK FACTORS
Something to look out for when concerned a person may be suicidal, is a change in their behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. It is additionally important to take note of behavioral changes that occur after a trauma, loss, or major life changes. Often warning signs present themselves in the way a person talks, behaves or expresses their mood. The more signs you see, the greater the risk.
Know the Signs
Behaviors that may signal risk, especially if related to a painful event, loss or change: People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods: If a person talks about:
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Looking for a way to end their lives
- Withdrawing from activities
- Isolating from family and friends
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
- Giving away prized possessions
- Loss of interest
- Relief/Sudden Improvement
- Killing themselves
- Feeling hopeless
- Having no reason to live
- Being a burden to others
- Unbearable pain
- Feeling trapped
Source Credit: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
What to do if you see the warning signs?If a friend mentions suicide, take it seriously. If he or she has expressed an immediate plan, or has access to a gun or other potentially deadly means, do not leave him or her alone.
Risk factors are characteristics or conditions that increase the chance that a person my try take their life. Risk factors can include:
- Readily accessible firearms
- Impulsiveness and taking unnecessary risks
- Lack of connection to family and friends (no one to talk to)
- Previous suicide attempt(s)
- Isolation and aloneness
- Non-suicidal self-injury - NSSI (e.g., cutting)
- Mental illness including depression, conduct disorders, and substance abuse
- Family stress/dysfunction
- Family history of suicide
- Environmental risks, including presence of a firearm in the home
- Situational crises (e.g., the presence of a gun in the home, bullying and harassment, serious disciplinary action, death of a loved one, physical or sexual abuse, breakup of a relationship/friendship, family violence, suicide of a peer)
Source Credit: National Association of School Psychologists
Protective factors are the biggest resource in preventing youth suicide. Protective factors are things that help build resiliency in youth. They can include positive school climate, positive relationships with trusted adults, family and community connectedness and healthy problem solving skills amongst others.Norfolk Public Schools provides suicide prevention resources to students and families within our district. Staff are trained to refer students to school counselors, psychologists, and social workers, if a student threatens suicide. Several outside services and resources are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If your student or you need help, HELP IS AVAILABLE!
IN AN EMERGENCY CALL 911.
In extremely dangerous situations, please call 911 first to secure the safety of the person in crisis.
LOCAL COMMUNITY RESOURCES
CHILDRENS HOSPITAL OF THE KING'S DAUGHTERS
601 Children's Lane, Norfolk, VA 23507
Mental health emergency services for children. Click the link for guide on how to recognize a mental health emergency, when to request emergency assistance, and what to expect when your child visits the ER in a mental health emergency.
EMERGENCY SERVICES UNITComprehensive Mental Health
3755 Virginia Beach Blvd., Norfolk, VA 23502
Children & Youth: (757) 823-1600
Adults: (757) 823-1695
Emergency: (757) 664-7690
Emergency response services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Insurance is accepted and fees are based on ability to pay.
KEMPSVILLE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH880 Kempsville Road, Norfolk, VA 23502(757) 461-4565(877) 409-2228 (toll free)
No cost mental health assessments are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.