Suicide Prevention Training for All

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. Among young people ages 10-24, it’s the second leading cause of death. Overall, the suicide rate has risen at an unprecedented rate in the last decade, making it one of the leading causes of preventable death.

With the spotlight on suicide prevention during this awareness month, it’s important to focus on prevention itself. Four out of five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs. That means that in 80% of these cases, there is an opportunity to intervene and possibly save a person who is at risk.

Evidence-Based Suicide Prevention Training

Human connection is a key part of suicide prevention. Research indicates that even a simple act of connecting at-risk individuals with words of hope or caring can play a significant role in their decision to seek help. The power of conversation in addressing one’s feelings and making them feel supported goes a long way.

But these conversations can be challenging. Most people are not aware of the importance of warning signs or how to recognize them. Many do not know what to do or what to say when they’re concerned about someone’s mental wellness. And stigma about mental illness is often a barrier to accessing treatment for those struggling with psychological distress.

Luckily, research supports behavior change training as an effective means of impacting attitudes and behaviors on a population level. The right training can transform schools, hospitals, and other settings into places where everyone is equipped to start conversations with others who are showing signs of suicidal ideation.

Evidence-based training ensures that a solution designed to lead to changes in behavior. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center is a great resource to explore solutions whose outcomes have been assessed in empirical studies.

Suicide Prevention in Schools

K-12 school districts are optimal settings to implement suicide prevention training. Teachers and staff interact with students for hours every day. Thus, they are in a prime position to notice when a student is acting out of character or if academic performance drastically changes.

Given their optimal position as gatekeepers for linking students to treatment, K-12 teachers and staff in many states are now required to participate in this type of training. An effective training is meant to equip them to feel more prepared and confident to talk with a student about their mental health.

Entering college, students face new stressors of adjusting to university life and navigating freedom that comes with added pressures. One recent report said that 76% have experienced mental health issues including stress, anxiety, depression. As a result, many colleges and universities are also placing an emphasis on suicide prevention.

Suicide prevention training during school orientation helps incoming students anticipate school stressors. It also teaches them to identify signs of distress among fellow students, and for themselves. Extending training to faculty and staff can also equip adults on campus to identify and talk with students in distress. About a third of college students say they want to be able to have open conversations with their professors about mental health.

Suicide dissuasion training in educational settings equips educators and staff to be ready to respond when a student is in distress. Focusing on awareness and empathy around suicide prevention has benefits for students and fellow employees by growing a school’s support network. And by training together, that network can shift campus culture to be more supportive of student well-being.

Suicide Prevention in Healthcare

Healthcare settings are also critically important for the management of suicide risk. More patients are seeking help for depression and suicidal thoughts in primary care settings and emergency rooms. Or, patients may be showing early signs of psychological distress that could still require intervention from a primary care provider.

Yet research shows that health professionals may be unprepared to screen patients and intervene appropriately. Known as SBI, screening and brief interventions are techniques to identify patients who may need treatment for mental health and substance use disorders.

Continuing education for doctors, nurses, social workers, and other healthcare professionals is incredibly important in today’s healthcare system. Implementing SBI in primary care settings can better ensure universal screening of all patients. By capturing patients in need of mental health treatment, SBIRT contributes to quality improvement in the healthcare system by better connecting at-risk patients to appropriate support.

Online Suicide Prevention Training

If someone you know is struggling emotionally, you can be the difference in getting them the help they need. It’s critically important that we are all equipped with the tools to let someone know we care, and to connect those individuals to help. It’s also a great reminder to check in on yourself and reach out if you feel that you need support. 

Awareness about suicide is just the beginning. Effective suicide prevention goes beyond awareness to transform attitudes and behaviors. With these changes, individuals can navigate conversations in a way that motivates others to seek help.

How? Kognito’s online suicide prevention training simulations incorporate evidence-based motivational interviewing techniques and realistic mental health scenarios for teachers. They allow users to practice conversations in a no-stakes environment and to grow more comfortable with those conversations in-person. Kognito’s At-Risk simulations address mental health and suicide prevention across various settings, including PK-12, higher education, and healthcare.

Is your workplace equipped with effective suicide prevention training? Try a demo to see how you can empower your organization and boost conversations that will save lives.


If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

Other Suicide Prevention Training Resources

Talking About Suicide

Suicide is a sensitive topic that is not easy to bring up, but when you know how to talk about suicide, you can help someone access the care they need. Read about these 4 tips for talking about suicide.

Suicide Prevention Programs

Kognito is proud to be listed by state health departments, education departments, and statewide foundations and non-profits as a recommended youth suicide prevention program. Below is a comprehensive list of approved prevention plans, reports, toolkits, approved training tools, and other resources that include Kognito as a resource for youth suicide prevention programs. Some states recommend Kognito as a way to fulfill a state training mandate on suicide prevention.

Talking About Suicide in Schools

Being armed with facts about suicide prevention in schools can help educators use their best judgment in intervening with students. Read about 5 things educators should know when talking about suicide.

Suicide Prevention Elementary School

At-Risk For PK-12 Educators is a suite of products to teach elementary school educators about mental health and suicide prevention which supports improved student wellness and school safety. Learn why Kognito’s product suite is adopted by over 5,000 schools and districts nationally.

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