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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Suicide Prevention Toolkit Available to Kentucky Educators

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, May 26, 2009  
Contact Information:  Gwenda Bond or Beth Fisher, (502) 564-6786, ext. 3325 and 4012  

 As part of ongoing suicide prevention efforts, mental health professionals and advocates have created an educational toolkit to prevent suicide among Kentucky’s teenagers. The toolkits are free and available for educational professionals throughout the state.

“Although being a teenager can mean having some great moments, it can also mean being stuck between being a kid and an adult – sometimes feeling like one or the other, depending on the day,” said Jan Ulrich, suicide prevention specialist with the Department for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addiction Services. “Youth have new things to deal with socially and academically and new types of pressures. For even the happiest teenager, these years can cause anxiety and confusion.”

Teenage suicide is becoming more common every year in the United States and now ranks behind only car accidents and homicides among leading causes of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24. In Kentucky, suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens.

As part of a federal youth suicide prevention grant, Kentucky Child Now and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services are offering Signs of Suicide (SOS) program toolkits for middle and high schools in Kentucky. The SOS program is a nationally recognized school-based suicide prevention initiative designed for tweens and teens. It aims to teach students how to address issues related to depression by identifying symptoms within themselves and among their friends. Students are encouraged to use the ACT technique (Acknowledge, Care, Tell).

The requirements for receiving a free kit include:

− Signing a memorandum of agreement with clearly identified training and implementation dates.

− Participating in a one-hour suicide prevention training for school, staff or community members.

− Completing a brief evaluation of results.

For more information about the SOS program and obtaining a toolkit, visit the “Training Institute” on the Kentucky Child Now Web site at:,  or call Karen E. Napier, mental health project specialist, at (502) 227-7722.




Last Updated 5/26/2009