Florida School Toolkit for K-12 Educators to Prevent Suicide

60. Any memorable statements or questions from students? S everal come to mind. A student said, “What good would it do to stop Jim from killing himself today? It is his fate or destiny.” I stressed the situational nature of suicide and referenced a story about a young man who might have wanted to live if he had merely waited a week! A student asked “Why weren’t you here last week? If you had been, I would have known what to do to prevent the suicide.” I responded that I wished I had been but we now must focus on the future, help everyone with their emotions, and work to prevent further suicides. This student’s question still haunts me. A student told me, “I did what you are recommending. I told the school counselor last year that my friend was suicidal, but the counselor made me feel like a snitch.” I emphasized that the student did the right thing and your counselor needs more training on suicide prevention. A nother memorable question came from a high school student who wanted to know what the best suicide prevention apps were. I named a few resources that came to mind immediately: • BeThe1To.com — Although not an app, the site outlines five steps to help someone in a crisis. • Virtual Hope Box—This coping skills app helps individuals struggling with depression. It has four main sections: distractions, inspirations, relaxation, and coping skills. • My3—This app provides a support system, safety plan, and mental health resources for an individual to use in a time of need. • Speak North Alabama—This app helps users recognize suicide warning signs and access prevention resources. • A Friend Asks—This app stresses that suicide can be prevented and the importance of getting adult help. 61. What do you think of the fact that a Massachusetts teen went to prison for encouraging a friend to die by suicide? Y ou must be referring to the case of Michele Carter who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2017 for encouraging via text messages the suicide of Conrad Roy. Michele Carter’s appeal was denied, and she served most of the 15-month sentence. Her attorney argued that she had the right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. I was personally surprised by the criminal verdict and think the case involves morality issues more than criminal behavior. The case underscores the need for suicide prevention in schools! 62. What communication should take place within the school when a student is suspected of being suicidal? S chool personnel must communicate with each other whenever a student is suspected of being suicidal to increase the circle of care around the student. I have heard from a number of school nurses in particular that they have felt left out. One nurse stated in her deposition that if someone had told her that the student was known to be suicidal, then the nurse would’ve never let him go into the clinic bathroom where the nurse could not unlock the door. The student hung himself there. 169