As its September regular meeting, the San Diego County Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution declaring September 2021 as Suicide Prevention Month. The resolution reads:
WHEREAS, youth suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults between the ages of 10 to 34; and
WHEREAS, on average, a young person dies by suicide every hour and 25 minutes in the U.S. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015), and for every young person who dies by suicide, an estimated 100 to 200 youth make suicide attempts (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016); and
WHEREAS, youth suicide is a preventable public health problem, and educators and schools are key to prevention; and
WHEREAS, declaring September 2021 as Suicide Prevention Month will raise awareness that prevention is possible; treatment is effective; and people do recover; and
WHEREAS, in these challenging times, messages of hope and healing are needed more than ever; and
WHEREAS, according to the June 2021 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report:
- During 2020, the proportion of mental health-related emergency department (ED) visits among adolescents aged 12–17 years increased 31% compared with 2019,
- In May 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, ED visits for suspected suicide attempts began to increase among adolescents aged 12–17 years, especially girls,
- From Feb. 21 to March 20, 2021, suspected suicide attempt ED visits were 50.6% higher among girls aged 12–17 years than during the same period in 2019,
- Among boys aged 12–17 years, suspected suicide attempt ED visits increased 3.7%; and
WHEREAS, to promote student success inside and outside the classroom, we need to provide the tools and training to help school staff create a caring and supportive school environment, because early detection of student mental health issues by trusted adults and referrals for appropriate mental health care can save lives of students; and
WHEREAS, SDCOE was selected by the California Department of Education to lead the effort to provide access to an online suicide prevention training for all California middle and high school staff and students with funding provided by Assembly Bill 1808; and
WHEREAS, no single suicide prevention effort will be sufficient or appropriate for all populations or communities; mental health and wellness must be a top priority in our schools to increase awareness of mental health issues faced by our students and reduce the number of student suicides; and
WHEREAS, September has been recognized as National Suicide Prevention Month, Sept. 5-11 is recognized across the United states as National Suicide Prevention Week and provides the opportunity to educate our community about warning signs and how best to help those in need, and Sept. 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day, which was first held in 2003 as an initiative of the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organization.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the San Diego County Board of Education hereby declares September 2021 as Suicide Prevention Month and thereby requests that each school district, school, elected official, business, government agency, health care provider, organization, and citizen, recommit our community to increasing awareness, and understanding of suicide prevention.
Learn more about the San Diego County Office of Education's Student Wellness and School Culture efforts.