September 3, 2019 Los Angeles Unified Recognizes September As Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Board of Education today unanimously approved a resolution declaring September as Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson sponsored the resolution, which was co-sponsored by the remaining board members.

Suicide prevention refers to the collective efforts of organizations, mental health practitioners, and related professionals to reduce the incidence of suicide through education, awareness, and services. Suicide is a serious health problem that impacts everyone involved: families, students, employees, and communities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death for youngsters, ages 10-24.

“Suicide prevention and awareness is an important topic that should be addressed all year-long,” Board Member Schmerelson said. “Having September as a month focused on suicide prevention provides a dedicated time for all of Los Angeles Unified to come together, with collective strength and passion, around a difficult topic that carries a lot of stigma. Let’s remember that Los Angeles Unified is a family and all employees, certificated and classified, should be vigilant when students exhibit trauma.”

“Suicide is a very serious issue among our youth,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said. “When schools, families and communities work together to support children, they do better.”

“We cannot wait until a student cries for help,” School Board Vice President Jackie Goldberg said. “By then she might already have suicidal thoughts. We must do all we can to reach out to our students before it reaches that point.”

“During this month, and throughout the year, we hope that everyone will get involved in promoting suicide prevention and awareness,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said. “It takes all of us to raise awareness and, awareness could save lives that are in danger. Our awareness and advocacy for prevention will create an enormous difference in our students, families and community mental health.”

“The well-being of our children is our number one priority, and we want every child to know that they are loved and cared for,” Board Member Mónica García said. “I am happy to support this resolution that promotes the health of our students.”

“As we raise awareness for the importance of suicide prevention, I want to say to anyone – especially any of our students who experience any feelings of overwhelming sadness or depression – remember that you are not alone and things will get better, and that you can always talk to a trusted adult to get the support you need,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “And let this also serve as a reminder to all of us that you never know what battles those around you might be facing. A random act of kindness can go a long way.”

“Mental health is a critical part of student well-being, and our schools are on the front lines supporting our students both academically and socioemotionally,” Board Member Kelly Gonez said. “Today, we recognize Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month as an important opportunity to raise awareness so we can prevent such tragedies and protect our students.”

The adoption of this resolution encourages all students, faculty, administrators, and parents to promote an environment of positive behavior support and intervention; monitor students’ emotional state and well-being; and make referrals for crisis support and mental health.

###