The School Board voted to make September 2021 Suicide Awareness Month during its meeting on Wednesday, recognizing the mental health crisis that has gripped youth during the pandemic, making suicide the second leading cause of death among adolescents between the ages of 10 and 18 years old in Virginia.
The school district’s suicide prevention program aims to decrease suicide attempts by increasing knowledge and resources available to students, to educate students that suicide is a preventable tragedy, and to encourage teens to respond to signs of suicide as a mental health emergency.
During the meeting, student representatives were on hand to weigh in.
“There unfortunately will always be people that suffer in silence. Having an entire month dedicated to suicide awareness, providing mental health outlets, and more importantly, prevention, will be huge for so many young students,” Jamie Kaine, a senior at Heritage High School, said.
“I believe that dedicating a month to such a prominent issue is very important. It will definitely make a difference to help aid the students especially those who are not able to get access for issues at home, to have an outlet, and create more safe environment,” Carris Morris, a Potomac Falls High School senior, said.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 800-273-8255.
A number of resources are available on the LCPS website.