Suicide is among the most serious and heartbreaking issues impacting our youth. As we commemorate National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, this is an important time to reach out to one another and ensure our community has access to the many available resources and supports.
The California Healthy Kids Survey shows that as many as 11% of secondary students in our community have considered suicide in the past year as of 2021. That rate is even higher among our LGBTQ+ community. Those rates are lower than in some prior years, but they remain unacceptably high. This same survey revealed another alarming trend, which is also supported by what we have heard from our students and families directly: the number of students feeling hopelessness and sadness on a near-daily basis increased significantly during the pandemic, only underscoring our imperative to act.
The role we play here at the COE often involves working with districts and services providers to share resources and facilitate training. We’ve also made wellness a core focus of our work, and as I’ve previously shared are working with districts toward our goal of opening Wellness Centers on high school campuses. Awareness is also important, and the Santa Cruz County Board of Education yesterday adopted a resolution commemorating National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
Please review these important resources and share them with anyone in your life who may benefit from them:
Santa Cruz County 24-Hour Suicide Crisis Line: 9-8-8 or 1-877-663-5433 (ONE LIFE)
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Navigating a Mental Health Crisis One Pager
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
California Health & Human Services Agency (CalHHS) Back to School Resources
If you or anyone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts or have been impacted by suicide, know this. We are here for you. Resources are available. These feelings do not have to last forever. No one has to experience this alone. So many hands are joined together in support of every member of our school community.
Yours in education and equity,
Dr. Faris Sabbah
County Superintendent of Schools