Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth and young adults in Kentucky. According to the Kentucky Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 15 percent of Kentucky high school students (1 in 7) reported having seriously considered suicide within a 12-month period. In addition, 17.4 percent of Kentucky middle school students (nearly 1 in 5) reported that they had seriously considered killing themselves at some point in their lives. However, experts say that suicide can be preventable. When educators, students and communities learn warning signs and how to take action when a young person might be at risk of a suicidal crisis, lives can be saved.
September National Suicide Prevention Month Flyer
Guidance for Student Suicide Prevention Delivery
KRS 156.095 requires that all middle and high school students receive suicide prevention information before September 15. However, experts recommend that it is important to tailor the delivery of required suicide prevention trainings to fit the context of the current situation. The following documents provide guidance and resources from the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities (BHDID).
BHDID Recommendations for School Suicide Prevention Training
Suicide Prevention Education for Middle and High School Staff
KRS 156.095 requires all school district employees with job duties requiring direct contact with students in grades six (6) through twelve (12) to fulfill one hour of high-quality (in-person, live streaming, or video recording) professional development training every year to review suicide prevention. In years that training is not provided, new hires shall be provided suicide prevention materials for review. This training may be included in the four days of professional development under KRS 158.070. KRS 161.011 permits suicide prevention training for classified employees.
Suicide Prevention Information for Middle and High School Students
KRS156.095 requires that every public school shall provide suicide prevention awareness information in person, by live streaming, or via a video recording information to all students in grades six (6) through twelve (12) by September 15 of each year. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services posts suicide prevention awareness and training information on its webpage.
Kentucky Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities
In response to Kentucky legislation regarding suicide prevention training and awareness for middle school and high school staff and students, the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities has prepared information about programs, training and materials.
Suicide Prevention Training and Resources for Educators
Training for Educators, Staff and Communities
Programs for Middle and High School Students
Resources for Schools
Resources for Teens
Youth Mental Health First Aid
As part of the Kentucky AWARE Project funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services SAMHSA NITT-AWARE grant, the Kentucky Department of Education is currently providing Youth Mental Health First Aid Training. Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. This evidence-based 6-hour certification course gives adults who work with youth the skills they need to reach out and provide initial support to adolescents (ages 12-18) who may be in crisis or developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to the appropriate care. Kentucky Department of Education is able to offer the course for free to school and community groups.
Office of Continuous Improvement and Support
Division of Student Success
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601