Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24. According to
2017 Illinois Youth Risk Behavior Survey results (Illinois statewide summary tables), 17.2 percent of Illinois high school students had seriously considered attempting suicide during the past 12 months prior to taking the survey (spring of 2017) and 10 percent attempted suicide one or more times during the previous 12 months.
AnnMarie’s Law, enacted in 2015 following the death in 2013 of AnnMarie Blaha, was created to provide suicide awareness and prevention to Illinois school students and school staff. The law,
Public Act 99-0443, required ISBE to:
- Develop a model suicide prevention policy, and
- Compile, develop, and post recommended guidelines, resources, and educational materials on youth suicide prevention and awareness.
AnnMarie's Law also required school districts to adopt a suicide prevention policy and procedures.
ISBE and stake holders adopted Illinois Association of School Board’s PRESS policy 7:290, Suicide and Depression Awareness and Prevention, pursuant to 105 ILCS 5/2-3.163, amended by P.A. 99-443 as the model policy. Any school or district who requests a copy will receive it free, regardless of membership status. To request a copy of the model youth suicide awareness and prevention policy, please email the Illinois Association of School Boards with the subject line of Suicide Awareness & Prevention Policy Request. IASB wishes to thank and acknowledge the IASB PRESS Advisory Board who reviewed the sample policy. For more information, please visit the Illinois Association of School Boards
Suicide and Depression Awareness and Prevention Policy page.
ISBE and the stakeholder group and others created a
Illinois Youth Suicide Prevention Toolkit. Schools can play a critical role in suicide prevention.
Risk Factors correlated with suicide include
Suicide Prevention strategies schools can implement include:
- Prior suicide attempt
- Co-occurring mental and alcohol or substance abuse disorders
- Family history of suicide
- Parental psychopathology
- Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
- Easy access to lethal methods, especially guns
- Exposure to the suicide of a significant person
- History of physical or sexual abuse
- Impaired parent-child relationships
- Life stressors, especially those involving loss
- Lack of involvement in school and/or work ("drifting")
- Promoting social, emotional, behavioral, and academic competencies
- Providing a safe, caring, responsive, and participatory school climate
- Engaging parents
- Intervening early when students need additional mental health supports
- Making appropriate referrals if necessary supports are beyond the capacity of school personnel
- Contacting the CARES line at 1-800-345-9049 if there are indicators of imminent danger. The
Screening, Assessment and Support Services (SASS) program is available for children and adolescents experiencing a mental health crisis.
- Implementing a coordinated crisis response
Suicide Toolkit when a suicide occurs.