Dear educators, parents, and community members:
1. Acknowledge the gravity of the situation and the student’s feelings, from their perspective. For example, you could say, “That sounds terrible (e.g. upsetting, scary, confusing, etc. based on their reaction)” and “It’s important to talk to me or an adult you trust whenever you see or hear something on social media that is upsetting.”
2. Reassure them that they are safe here and now
3. Ask the student if they would like to talk about how the video made them feel, either with you, your school counselor, or another trusted adult. Seeing a suicide or hearing graphic depictions of a suicide may trigger strong emotions, suicidal thoughts or self-harm behaviors, or concern about a loved one who may be suicidal.
4. Share resources – such as the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255), TrevorLifeline (1-866-488-7386), or Crisis Text Line (text 4HOPE to 741-741) – and give the student time to explore those resources
5. Do not dismiss or minimize the situation with comments like, “It’s just a video” or “Focus on something else.” This sends the message that you do not care and are unwilling to talk about it.
6. Do not make promises like, “You’ll get through this” or answer questions for which you do not know the answer. If you do not know the answer to a question, be honest with the young person and reach out to someone who would know the answer. For instance, you could say: “That’s a great question. I don’t know the answer, but let’s ask someone who does…”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)
Crisis Text Line: Text 4HOPE to 741-741
To explore additional resources, including suicide prevention information, visit: https://www.mhrb.org/find-help/
To locate a behavioral health care provider, visit: https://www.mhrb.org/providers/#results
To download MHRB’s 2020 Suicide Prevention Month Toolkit, visit:
Responder Resilience Program: 937-727-4097
Clark, Greene, Madison Warmline: 937-662-9080
Resources for educators: https://www.mhrb.org/resources/#education
Dr. Greta H. Mayer, CEO