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Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month Is September

Fulton County Schools acknowledges the gravity of suicide in school-age children and teens. According to the CDC, it is the second leading cause of death in young people ages 10 – 24 in the U.S., and 130 young people in this age group are lost to suicide each week. Yet, it is considered one of the leading causes of preventable deaths. Investment in suicide education, prevention and research assists with decreasing the number of untimely deaths each year. Fulton’s district theme this year is “Stay Connected,” and all month, schools are finding ways to unite and promote prevention and awareness of this public health emergency.

During times of uncertainty – such as what we have collectively experienced during the last 18 months – FCS believes it is important that students are connected to healthy friendships, school activities, trusted adults and needed resources. It is important that we teach students to ACT, an acronym for Acknowledge, Care and Tell. This comes from the evidence-based program Signs of Suicide program which is done in the sixth and ninth grades.  Knowing the signs of suicide, understanding the importance of practicing self-care, communicating to friends they are cared for and understanding when to tell, are all the first steps to saving a life.  

During this month, our schools have been drawing attention to the problem of suicide and advocating means of prevention through shared resources and activities throughout September.

FCS Executive Director for the Office of Student Supports, Chelsea Montgomery, said, “The best thing we can do to prevent suicides in our youth is to build relationships, stay connected and not shy away from the topic of suicide.” 

FCS has school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers in the schools and also has an on-site mental health partner in each school. And within the Fulton County schools app, there is also a Tip Line for students to alert the Safety and Security department about FCS students in need of crisis support or suspicious/illegal behavior. Additionally, all middle and high schools have implemented Text4Help, a 24/7, anonymous, text-based hotline with certified clinicians on the other end ready to help.

Lastly, these following resources are available around the clock: NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE 1-800-273-TALK www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org and SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services) NATIONAL HELPLINE 1-800-662-HELP (4357).