September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Suicide Awareness Month September 
Suicide is a major health concern nationwide and in the state of Florida. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10-24 (Center for Disease Control [CDC], 2014). In the state of Florida (2015), suicide is the leading cause of death for ages 10-19 and the second leading cause of death for youth ages 20-24; 296 deaths by suicide were reported in Florida alone for ages 10-24 (Florida Suicide Prevention, 2015). In 2014, suicide accounted for 5,505 deaths in the United States for persons aged 10-24 (CDC, 2014).
Statistics regarding the suicide rate in the United States indicate the following: 
  • The suicide rate was highest in the American Indian and Native Alaskan population for both males and females; White males had the second highest suicide rate. The percentage of Latina females attempting suicide is higher than most other female racial groups (Kann et al, 2014).
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Asian Americans and Pacific Island youth between the ages of 15 and 24 (Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 2013).
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth are also at an increased risk of suicide (Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 2008). Factors such as not coming out, being outed by someone else, or being ridiculed are specific stressors for this population, not necessarily being LGBTQ (Bontempo & D’Augelli, 2002; Russell & Joyner, 2001). African American and Latino LGBTQ youth are at an increased risk because they are less likely than White youth to come out to family and friends (O’Donnel et al., 2004).
  • Although most people who have a mental illness do not die by suicide, having a mental illness may increase the likelihood of suicide compared to those who do not have one (National Council for Behavioral Health, 2016).
Youth Mental Health First Aid, offered by Florida AWARE, teaches an action plan to help a young person experiencing a mental health crisis. The program further teaches how to look for signs of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, non-suicidal self-injury, or other harmful signs. Florida AWARE is committed to increasing youth mental health by including raising awareness on the topic of suicide. Listed below are a list of resources that may help your agency. For more information, please see the attached handout or contact Dr. Sandra Sosa-Carlin at [email protected].
Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention Training
The Florida Department of Education, in collaboration with the Statewide Office of Suicide Prevention, established criteria for reviewing youth suicide awareness and prevention training materials and compiled a list of nationally recognized youth suicide awareness and prevention trainings. A list of approved trainings may be found here: (Student Support Services Project website). Another resource shared by Florida’s Emotional/Behavioral Disability (E/BD) department is
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides suicide prevention information and other helpful resources to behavioral health professionals, the general public and people at risk at In addition, SAMHSA provides additional resources and toolkits free of cost:  Suicide Safe – The Suicide Prevention App For Healthcare Providers: and Preventing Suicide – A Toolkit for High Schools:
For information on the Youth Mental Health First Aid training program, and how we can train at your agency, please review the attached YMHFA handout or visit
Specific Dates of Awareness:
  • September is dedicated to Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month
  • National Suicide Prevention Week – September 10th – 16th
  • World Suicide Prevention Day – September 10th
Bontempo, D.E., & D’Augelli, A.r. (2002). Effects of at-school victimization and sexual orientation on lesbian, gay, or bisexual youths’ health risk behavior. Journal of Adolescent Health, 30(5): 364-374.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ten Leading Causes of Death by Age Group, United States – 2014. Atlanta, GA:
Florida Suicide Prevention Coalition (FSPC). Resident Deaths by Age Group, Florida, 2015. Florida:
Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Shanklin, S.L., Flint, K.H., Hawkins, J., Harris, W.A., Lowry, R., O’Malley Olsen, E., McManus, T., Chyen, D., Whittle, L., Taylor, E., Demissie, Z., Brener, N., Thornton, J., Moore, J., Zaza, S., & CDC. (2014). Youth risk behavior surveillance – United States, 2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Surveillance Summaries, 63(SS-1).
National Council for Behavioral Health (2016). Mental health first aid USA: For adults assisting young people. Washington, D.C.: National Council for Behavioral Health.
O’Donnell, L., O’Donnell, C., Wardlaw, D.M. & Stueve, A. (2004). Risk factors influencing suicidality among urban African American and Latino youth. American Journal of Community Psychology, 33(1/2): 37-49.
Russell, S.T., & Joyner, K. (2001). Adolescent sexual orientation and suicide risk: Evidence from a national study. American Journal of Public Health, 91: 1276-1281.
Suicide Prevention Resource Center. (2013). Suicide Among Racial/Ethnic Populations in the U.S.: Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians. Waltham, MA: Education Development Center, Inc.
Suicide Prevention Resource Center. (2013). Suicide Among Racial/Ethnic Populations in the U.S.: American Indians/Alaska Natives. Waltham, MA: Education Development Center, Inc.
Suicide Prevention Resource Center. (2008). Suicide Risk and Prevention for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth. Newton, MA: Education Development Center, Inc.
Charlene M. Grecsek, EdD, LMHC
SEDNET Project Coordinator
Exceptional Student Learning Support 
follow me on Twitter @DrGrecsek
F: 754-321-3449
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