Gaggle Speaks

Ideas, News & Advice for K-12 educators and administrators to help create safe learning environments.

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Written by Kaitlyn Reeves
on September 11, 2019

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among today’s youth between the ages of 10 and 24. Last year alone, Gaggle found 52,000 references to suicide or self-harm in students’ online activity. Of these, more than 6,000 were serious enough to merit immediate attention by the district. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, suicidal ideation is common, but should not be considered normal.  Adolescent mental health crises are on the rise, and suicidal thoughts certainly warrant professional attention. 

It can be challenging for educators and parents to know where to find help or resources for their struggling students. Tim Walker reports in NEA Today that 70% of students with a mental health disorder do not receive the treatment they need. According to the Ruderman Family Foundation, when adolescents do experience symptoms of mental illness, it can take an average of 8-10 years for them to access treatment. More than two-thirds of students—approximately 10 million individuals—aged 13 to 18 require some level of professional help for a mental health condition. 

For Suicide Prevention Week, we’d like to offer a list of resources to turn to when supporting these adolescents in crisis. Sometimes it takes providing students a lifeline to prevent suicide.

  • Zero Suicides has a comprehensive toolkit for healthcare professionals to transform suicide care. Sections of their kit can also be implemented by school counselors to provide additional care for their students.

  • The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has an evidence-based educational program that teaches schools, organizations, workplaces, and communities the best practices in suicide prevention.

  • For community advocates of suicide prevention, Each Mind Matters has a social media campaign to encourage community members to identify the warning signs of suicide. They have a list of social media posts primed to share.

  • One high school counselor offers her perspective on how to talk to teens about suicide after the popularity of the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why.

While prevention efforts can be immensely beneficial for students, it’s important to remember that the majority of adolescents who are suicidal show warning signs. Students as young as second grade have been reported to be planning a suicide attempt, and sometimes those warning signs can be hidden in their digital footprint. If your school isn’t already using Gaggle, does it have the capacity to monitor all students’ online activities? 
Over the 2018–19 school year, Gaggle alerted district contacts in time to intervene and save 722 lives. Download our student impact report to see if Gaggle might be the right solution to keep your students safe.

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