Department of Public Instruction Resources

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instructions has developed a variety of trainings and resources for schools considering implementing suicide prevention activities. 

Safe Schools for LGBTQ Students: DPI resources and recommendations on creating a safe and supportive school environment for all youth, including those in the LGBTQ community. Recommends school non-discrimination and anti-bullying policies that enumerate or specifically include actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or expression; training for teachers on effective intervention strategies, and how to establish and run a school-based Gay-Straight Alliance group. 

Well Aware Newsletter: Schools are an important venue for suicide prevention. While Wisconsin law requires schools to educate students about suicide prevention (see Section on DPI Resources) there are many real and perceived barriers to doing so, from fears of litigation to the incredible demands of the many things that schools are being asked to do. In order to address these concerns head on, Mental Health America of Wisconsin (then the Mental Health Association of Wisconsin) partnered with the WI Department of Public Instruction and Point de Vue communications to create a series of newsletters for school administrators, making the case for school-based mental health suicide prevention, addressing concerns and providing examples of best practices. These newsletters can be accessed here and utilized by local communities in their efforts to support school-based suicide prevention.

Summer 2007        Spring 2007      Winter 2007

National Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention (BPR)  The purpose of the BPR is to identify, review, and disseminate information about best practices that address specific objectives of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. This page helps you find sources of programs and practices, and how to use them effectively. 

AFSP's Model School District Policy on Suicide Prevention  More than half of all states in the U.S. currently require that educators receive training to prevent suicide. With recommendations rooted in best practices, the Model School District Policy on Suicide Prevention can complement state law requirements and help schools achieve an inclusive, comprehensive suicide prevention plan. Click link for more info and to download the resource. 

School Based Programs

Sources of Strength A best practice youth suicide prevention project designed to harness the power of peer social networks to change unhealthy norms and culture, ultimately preventing suicide, bullying, and substance abuse. The mission of Sources of Strength is to prevent suicide by increasing help seeking behaviors and promoting connections between peers and caring adults. Sources of Strength moves beyond a singular focus on risk factors by utilizing an upstream approach for youth suicide prevention. 

SOS: Signs of Suicide: A Middle School Program Developed by Screening for Mental Health®, the SOS Middle School Program uses a universal prevention approach to assist in identification of at-risk youth by addressing the issues of depression, suicide, and self-injury.

Hope Squad The Hope Squad program is a school-based peer support team that partners with local mental health agencies. Peers select students who are trustworthy and caring individuals to join the Hope Squad. Squad members are trained to watch for at-risk students, provide friendship, identify suicide-warning signs, and seek help from adults. HOPE Squad members are NOT taught to act as counselors, but are educated on recognizing suicide warning signs and how to properly and respectfully report concerns to an adult. Once invited to be a HOPE Squad member, students must get a permission form signed by their parents and go through training.

Reconnecting Youth: A Peer Group Approach to Building Life Skills A school-based prevention program for students ages 14-19 years that teaches skills to build resiliency against risk factors and control early signs of substance abuse and emotional distress. RY targets youth who demonstrate poor school achievement and high potential for school dropout.

Trevor Lifeguard Workshop: "Trevor Lifeguard Workshop is a 1-hour interactive workshop for middle school, high school and college-age youth that describes the mental health, suicide, and self-care resources provided by The Trevor Project. There are two versions of the workshop: one for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and one for general youth audiences. Workshops are given by volunteer facilitators who have completed the 2-day Trevor Lifeguard Workshop training for trainers. The workshop guides youth and young adults in a conversation about how to recognize the warning signs of suicide and how to respond in a way that will keep their peers safe. In addition, the workshop guides participants in a conversation about self-care strategies and helps participants identify their own personal strategies for self-care."


SPRC Resources


Data and Reports

The Wisconsin Youth Risk Behavior Survey The YRBS is conducted as part of a national effort by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor health-risk behaviors of the nation's high school students. These behaviors, in turn, result in the most significant causes of both mortality and morbidity during youth and adulthood.

Trends in the Prevalence of Suicide-Related Behaviors National YRBS: 1991-2013  The national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) monitors priority health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults in the United States. It is conducted every two years during and provides data representative of 9th through 12th grade students in public and private schools.

Emergency Department Visits for Drug-Related Suicide Attempts Involving Antidepressants More Like to Result in Follow-up Care among Adolescents  from the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, 2012.

Enhancing Pediatric Mental Health Care: Strategies for Preparing a Community a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Mental Health, 2010

Child Death Review Teams In Wisconsin, child death review (CDR) teams primarily review deaths of infants and children, ages 0 to 18, which are reportable to the medical examiner or coroner. The purpose of CDR is to better understand the risk factors and circumstances surrounding a child’s death and to develop policy and program recommendations to prevent future deaths.

NCFRP Webinar - Reviewing Youth Suicides (password NCFRP need to access) 

Preventing Youth Suicide in Rural America: Recommendations to States  from the SPRC, EDC and STIPDA, 2008

Trevor Project 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health 

The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health is the most up to date national data and the largest survey of its kind (over 40,000 LGBTQ+ youth), andt focuses on the unique challenges that LGBTQ+ youth face every day.

Here are just some of the insights from this year’s survey:

  • 40% of LGBTQ young people seriously considered suicide in the past year.
  • 1 in 3 LGBTQ youth reported that they had been physically threatened or harmed in their lifetime due to their LGBTQ identity
  • 46% of youth reported wanting psychological or emotional counseling from a mental health professional but were unable to receive it in the past twelve months
  • Transgender and nonbinary youth who reported having their pronouns respected by all or most of the people in their lives attempted suicide at half the rate of those who did not have their pronouns respected


Prevention Resources - For Youth 

Youth Warning Signs Provides information on recognizing warning signs of suicide - targeted towards youth, health care professionals, parents and caregivers and gatekeepers.

Help a Friend in Need - Warning Signs on Social Media Tips on using social media to recognize when a friend may be in need of urgent help, and tips on how to support them. 

Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide  Resources targeted towards teens who are dealing with suicidal thoughts, supporting friends with suicidal thoughts, or mourning the loss of a friend who died by suicide. 

Seize the Awkward Campaign on the importance of talking to friends about mental health and/or suicide. Features tips on how to handle awkward conversations with friends. 

Prevention Resources - For Caregivers 

Teen Counseling Online Platform TeenCounseling is an online platform where teens from ages 13-19 can get help from a licensed therapist online. makes affordable, discreet, professional counseling available through a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Counseling on TeenCounseling,com is based on a flat membership fee that covers both the use of the platform and unlimited counseling for both parent and child. While face-to-face counseling can cost $150 to $250 for a single session (or about $1,000 per month), the cost of counseling through TeenCounseling ranges from $40 to $70 per week (billed monthly) and includes messaging, chats, phone, and video sessions.

Identifying and Preventing Suicide in Post-Sexual Assault Care (Youth Suicide Prevention Program) Presentation featuring data on sexual assault, intimate partner violence and depression as risk factors for youth suicide. Meant for anyone in a caregiving position for youth. 

Suicide & Social Media - A Tip Sheet for Parents & Providers  The American Association of Suicidology teamed up with physicians and subject matter experts to put together this list for anyone to help youth who come in contact with this digital content.

Understanding Child Suicide for Military Parents: A Factsheet This guide from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network offers military parents information about military youth suicide. This fact sheet includes information about suicide and military youth, how to talk to your child about suicide, warning signs that your child may be experiencing suicidal thoughts and helpful responses by age group, as well as evidence-based treatments for suicidal youth, and how to address your needs as a parent.



Bullying/Cyberbullying Risk Factors 

Clinical Report - The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families from the American Academy of Pediatrics, 2011

Suicide and Bullying an SPRC Issue Brief, 2011

Cyberbullying and Suicide a research summary from the Cyberbullying Research Center, 2010

Better Support Needed for Suicidal People on the Internet a University of Queensland Australia study, 2009


Suicide Prevention among LGBT Youth: A Workshop for Professionals Who Serve Youth  A free workshop kit to help staff in schools, youth-serving organizations, and suicide prevention programs take action to reduce suicidal behavior among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth. From the SPRC.

Suicide Risk and Prevention for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth from the SPRC, 2008

Support for Transgender Youth is More Important than Ever from

College Guide for LGBTQ Students A comprehensive guide to help LGBTQ students make an informed decision on where to pursue a college degree. Includes expert input on common issues faced by LGBTQ college students and what to look for in an LGBTQ-affirming campus environment. 

See the LGBTQ+ Resources Page for More>>

American Indian/Alaska Native Youth

American Indian Life Skills Development/Zuni Life Skills Development  A school-based suicide prevention curriculum designed to reduce suicide risk and improve protective factors among American Indian adolescents 14 to 19 years old.

Alcohol and suicide among racial/ethnic populations - 17 States, 2005 - 2006

See the American Indian/Alaska Native Resources Page for More >>

 African American Youth 

The Crisis of Black Youth Suicide in America Report This report comes from the Congressional Black Caucus - Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health. The suicide death rate among Black youth has found to be increasing faster than any racial/ethnic group. This report covers risk and protective factors for Black youth, and uses an upstream approach to recommendations regarding interventions and treatment for Black youth mental health. 

The Steve Fund The Steve Fund is dedicated to the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color. Offers resources such as the Equity in Mental Health Framework to help colleges/universities support the mental health of students of color, and the Knowledge Center full of webinars, interviews and presentations on different topics related to mental health for students of color. 

Young, Gifted, at Risk and Resilient: A Video Toolkit to Support the Wellbeing of Students of Color >>  Mental health among college students has become a national priority. Students of color in particular experience unique circumstances, such as racial/ethnic discriminationdisparities in mental health services, and marginalization. These experiences can contribute negatively to their mental health and well-being and impede both academic performance and college satisfaction.

See the Black/African American Resources Page for more >>