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Newport-Mesa USD |  BP  5141.52  Students

Suicide Prevention   

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The Board of Education recognizes that suicide is a major cause of death among youth and should be taken seriously. In order to attempt to reduce suicidal behavior and its impact on all students and families, the Superintendent or designee shall develop preventive strategies and intervention procedures.

The Superintendent or designee may involve school health professionals, school counselors, administrators, other staff, parents/guardians, students, local health agencies and professionals, and community organizations in planning, implementing, and evaluating the district's strategies for suicide prevention and intervention.

(cf. 1020 - Youth Services)

(cf. 1220 - Citizen Advisory Committees)

(cf. 1400 - Relations Between Other Governmental Agencies and the Schools)

Prevention and Instruction

Suicide prevention strategies may include, but not be limited to, efforts to promote a positive school climate that enhances students' feelings of connectedness with the school and is characterized by caring staff and harmonious interrelationships among students.

(cf. 5131 - Conduct)

(cf. 5137 - Positive School Climate)

(cf. 5145.3 - Nondiscrimination/Harassment)(cf. 5145.7 - Sexual Harassment)

(cf. 5145.9 - Hate-Motivated Behavior)

The district's comprehensive mental health and wellness education program shall promote the healthy mental, emotional, and social development of students including, but not limited to, the development of problem-solving skills, coping skills, and self-esteem. At the direction of the Superintendent or his/her designee, the mental health and wellness education programs shall be incorporated into the education curriculum of all secondary schools in the District. Such instruction shall be aligned with state content standards and shall be designed to help students analyze signs of depression and self-destructive behaviors, including potential suicide, and to identify suicide prevention strategies.

(cf. 6142.8 - Comprehensive Health Education)

The Superintendent or designee shall offer parents/guardians education or information which describes the severity of the youth suicide problem, the district's suicide prevention curriculum, risk factors and warning signs of suicide, basic steps for helping suicidal youth, and/or school and community resources that can help youth in various states of crisis. This information shall specifically address the needs of high-risk groups, including, but not limited to, all of the following:

1. Youth bereaved by suicide

2. Youth with disabilities, mental illness, or substance abuse disorders

3. Homeless youth and students in foster care

4. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or students questioning their sexual identity

5. Students in a state of mental or emotional strain caused by, among other things, stress, anxiety, bullying or depression

(cf. 5131.2 - Bullying)

Student Education

Students shall be educated and encouraged on appropriate ways to notify a teacher, principal, counselor, or other adult when they are experiencing thoughts of suicide or when they suspect or have knowledge of another student's suicidal ideations or intent.

Whenever schools establish a peer counseling system to provide support for students, peer counselors shall be educated and encouraged on appropriate ways to notify an adult when a mentee or another student has suicidal ideations or intent, complete a suicide prevention curriculum, including identification of the warning signs of suicidal behavior and referral of a suicidal student to appropriate adults.

(cf. 5138 - Conflict Resolution/Peer Mediation)

Staff Development

Annual suicide prevention training for staff shall be designed to help staff identify and respond to students at risk of suicide. The training shall be offered under the direction of District mental health professionals and/or in cooperation with one or more community mental health agencies and/or using approved online or classroom based instructional materials. Staff training can be adjusted year-to-year based on previous professional development activities and emerging best practices and may include information on:

1. Research identifying risk factors, such as previous suicide attempt(s), history of depression or mental illness, substance use problems, family history of suicide or violence, feelings of isolation, interpersonal conflicts, a recent severe stressor or loss, family instability, protective factors that can reduce a student's risk for suicide and other factors

(cf. 5131.6 - Alcohol and Other Drugs)

2. Warning signs that may indicate suicidal intentions, including changes in students' appearance, personality, or behavior

3. Research-based instructional strategies for teaching the suicide prevention curriculum and promoting mental and emotional health

4. School and community resources and services

(cf. 5141.6 - School Health Services)

(cf. 6164.2 - Guidance/Counseling Services)

5. District procedures for intervening when a student attempts, threatens, or discloses suicidal ideation or intent.

6. How to talk with a student about thoughts of suicide

7. How to respond appropriately to the youth who has suicidal thoughts. Such responses shall include constant supervision of any judged to be at risk for suicide and an immediate referral for suicide risk assessment.

8. Emphasis on immediately referring (same day) any student who is identified to be at risk of suicide for assessment while staying under constant monitor by staff member.

Employee Qualifications and Scope of Service

School employees must act only within the authorization and scope of their credential or license. It is expected that school employees be able to identify suicidal risk factors and warning signs to prevent the immediate risk of a suicidal behavior, and to respond appropriately to suicidal behavior. Because treatment of suicidal behavior is typically beyond most mental health challenges, suicidal ideation requires mental health resources beyond what schools are able to provide.

(cf. 4131 - Staff Development)(cf. 4231 - Staff Development)(cf. 4331 - Staff Development)


Whenever a staff member suspects or has knowledge of a student's suicidal intentions, he/she shall immediately notify the principal, designated administrator, counselor, school psychologist or school social worker, also known as trained district assessors. The trained district assessors will conduct a risk assessment, determine level of risk and consult with another suicide prevention team assessor to discuss resources for the student. The principal or trained district assessor shall then notify the student's parents/guardians as soon as possible and may refer the student to mental health resources in the school or community. Student privacy rights may limit the scope of contact in certain circumstances.

(cf. 5141 - Health Care and Emergencies)

The Superintendent or designee shall establish crisis intervention procedures to ensure student safety and appropriate communications in the event that a suicide occurs or an attempt is made on campus or at a school-sponsored activity.


The Superintendent or designee shall establish postvention procedures to ensure that students, staff, and families have appropriate support to deal with the repercussions of a suicide attempt or a student who has died by suicide.

Legal Reference:


215 Pupil Suicide Prevention Policies

32280-32289 Comprehensive safety plan 49060-49079 Student records

49602 Confidentiality of student information

49604 Suicide prevention training for school counselors GOVERNMENT CODE

810-996.6 Government Claims Act

17500 Legislative Intent


5698 Emotionally disturbed youth; legislative intent

5850-5883 Mental Health Services Act


Corales v. Bennett (Ontario-Montclair School District), (2009) 567 F.3d 554

Management Resources:


Health Education Content Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve, 2008

Youth Suicide-Prevention Guidelines for California Schools, 2005

Health Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve, 2003 CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH PUBLICATIONS

California Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention: Every Californian is Part of the Solution, 2008 CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION PUBLICATIONS

School Connectedness: Strategies for Increasing Protective Factors Among Youth, 2009 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES PUBLICATIONS

National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives for Action, 2001


American Psychological Association:

California Department of Education, Mental Health:

California Department of Mental Health, Children and Youth Programs:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mental Health: National Institute for Mental Health:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services



adopted: July 5, 2017 Costa Mesa, California