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Seek Help

If you or someone you know needs help or wants to discuss mental health concerns, contact:​
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK
  • Safe2Help Illinois​: 844-4-SAFE-IL or Text SAFE2 (72332)

Suicide Prevention Guidance and Resources

Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 12 and 19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Results from the 2019 Illinois Youth Risk Behavior Survey​  (Illinois statewide summary tables) indicate that 19 percent of Illinois high school students had seriously considered attempting suicide during the past 12 months prior to taking the survey (spring of 2019) and 9 percent attempted suicide one or more times during the previous 12 months. We do not yet have this data for the time period during the COVID-19 pandemic, but other data from across the country indicate current numbers about youth show higher levels of suicide consideration and suicide attempts due to the stresses of recent months.​

POLICY FOR ILLINOIS SCHOOLS

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:
  1. Develop a model suicide prevention policy, and
  2. 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.

Model Suicide Prevention Policy Available to ALL schools in Illinois

ISBE and stakeholders adopted the 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 that 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, which reviewed the sample policy. For more information, please visit the IASB’s Suicide and Depression Awareness and Prevention Policy page.​

Recommended Guidelines and Resources

ISBE’s Illinois Youth Suicide Prevention ToolkitPDF Document  is a companion document for schools to the aforementioned model policy. Schools can play a critical role in suicide prevention.
Risk factors correlated with suicide include:
  • Prior suicide attempt
  • Co-occurring mental and alcohol or substance abuse disorders
  • Family history of suicide
  • Parental psychopathology
  • Hopelessness
  • 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")
Suicide prevention strategies schools can implement include:
  • Sharing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Safe2Help Illinois resources with students, families, and employees.
  • 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.
  • Implementing a coordinated crisis response Suicide ToolkitPDF Document when a suicide occurs. 

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