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Check out our great childrens' book recommendations, interviews, teaching tools and more at for parents, teachers and librarians of kids K-5.


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Update: The National Institute of Mental Health in May 2019 released a study that found a measurable uptick in teen suicidesafter the series Thirteen Reasons Why was aired in April 2017. Sucide can be contagious and it's extremely important for those in the media or entertainment to adhere to best practices as outlined here at the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. 

I volunteer shifts on a suicide crisis line and also speak to students at middle schools and high schools.  We’re part of the nationwide LIFELINE network of 165 crisis lines in 49 states. We answer over 200 calls a day from people all over the country and from all walks of life, in several languages. 

One of the first questions we ask a caller is, “Are you feeling suicidal?”


Many say, “no.” They might be feeling depressed, sad, lonely, or overwhelmed, and just want someone to talk to. Or they may be concerned about a friend or family member who they fear is feeling suicidal, and they need information and support. 

For those who are feeling suicidal, it's a relief to say so. 

Suicide’s STIGMA gives it more power over all of us.

Because it makes us uncomfortable, we have a hard time talking about it.


Suicide is fully preventable, but only if we talk about it.


If you are feeling suicidal call


1-800-273-TALK (8255) in the U.S. and Canada.

Or TEXT  “GO” to 741741 

In the U.K., contact the Samaritans at +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK - local rate).  And from 5pm - midnight, GMT call the CALM Helpline at 0800-58 58 58

It's 13 11 14 within Australia.


If you are worried that someone you care about might be suicidal, ask them.

Then listen.

Have them call or text a crisis line--

Or talk to a professional they trust: a doctor, a counselor, a therapist, a teacher.

Here are some signs your friend may need help.

Depression is the single biggest risk factor for suicide. It’s highly treatable. 

Education and public awareness will prevent suicide.


According to the most recent U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) data (2017):

-18% of almost 14,000 high school students surveyed in 2013 felt suicidal in the past year.

-and 8% attempted.

-It’s the second leading cause of death among young people aged 15-24, second leading cause of death among 18-22 year-olds.

-LGBQT kids are almost 4 times more likely to be suicidal.

-Bullying increases the likelihood of depression and suicidality (the term for feeling suicidal).

 Chances are good that almost everyone between the ages of 14 and 18 knows someone who is or has been suicidal, who has attempted, or has completed suicide.


Here's an article that discusses some of the precipitating factors and reasons a person can be more susceptible to depression and possibly suicidality:

Understanding suicide

Here's a post for #MHYALit series at Teen Librarian Toolbox on suicide and mental health. Check out the whole series!

Here are some thoughts on the recent Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, about the suicide of high school student Hannah Anderson and the tapes she leaves behind for 13 different classmates who she believes pushed her toward her decision.


Stress and Mental Illness

Understanding Self Harm 

Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide for Journalists is here. 

Here's a mental health in children's literature bibliography.

Here’s a long list of (mostly) YA NOVELS that deal with the subject of suicide (at goodreads).

And a really comprehensive list of YA Mental Health Reads at YA Highway.

Want to help? Check this out. You can make a VIDEO and share it on social media, learn how to help your friends, create a "coping strategies" plan, and more.

Last word: "Promoting meaningful, caring connections with each other--in even the smallest of ways--has been shown to be a major factor in preventing suicide."