Suicide Prevention

A Personal Note:
Our son, Matthew, passed away on 9-26-2014. He was a senior at SAHS.
Matt took his own life.

Many parents have talks with teenagers about use of alcohol, drugs, safe driving, sex, but few have talks with their children on suicide. We feel it is important to talk to them even if there are no signs of trouble. Let them know they can come to you and if they do not feel comfortable talking to you, identify other adults. They can talk to counselors, teachers, pastors, a family member or friend.

Identify and know what resources are available.

See our story below.

Joe & Patti Dille
Hope4Tomorrow - The Dille’s Story

Methods of Prevention:

The methods of prevention utilized by the district include, but are not limited to, early identification and support for students at risk; education for students, staff and parents/guardians; and delegation of responsibility for planning and coordination of suicide prevention efforts.

Early Identification and Intervention Procedures
Early identification of inpiduals with one (1) or more suicidal risk factors or of inpiduals exhibiting warning signs is crucial to the district’s suicide prevention efforts. To promote awareness, district employees, students and parents/guardians should be educated about suicidal risk factors and warning signs.

Risk factors refer to personal or environmental characteristics that are associated with suicide including, but not limited to:

  • Behavioral Health Issues/Disorders, including depression, substance abuse or dependence, previous suicide attempts, or self-injury.
  • Personal Characteristics such as hopelessness/low self-esteem, loneliness/social alienation/isolation/lack of belonging, poor problem solving or coping skills, impulsivity/risk-taking/recklessness.
  • Adverse/Stressful Life Circumstances including interpersonal difficulties or losses, disciplinary or legal problems, bullying (victim or perpetrator), school or work issues, physical, sexual or psychological abuse, exposure to peer suicide.
  • Family/Domestic issues and adverse events or circumstances including porce or mental/physical health issues.

Warning signs are indications that someone may be in danger of suicide, either immediately or in the near future. Warning signs include, but are not limited to:

  • Expressions such as hopelessness, rage, anger, seeking revenge, feeling trapped, anxiety, agitation, no reason to live or sense of purpose.
  • Recklessness or risky behavior.
  • Increased alcohol or drug use.
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, or society.
  • Dramatic mood changes.

Methods of Intervention:

Procedures for Students at Risk

  • A district-approved suicide assessment instrument may be used by trained mental health staff such as counselors, psychologists, social workers.
  • Parents/Guardians of a student identified as being at risk of suicide shall be notified by the school. If the school suspects that the student’s risk status is the result of abuse or neglect, school staff shall immediately notify Children and Youth Services.
  • The district shall identify mental health service providers to whom students can be referred for further assessment and assistance.
  • Mental health service providers - may include, but not be limited to, hospital emergency departments, psychiatric hospitals, community mental health centers, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and primary care providers.
  • The district shall create an emotional or mental health safety plan to support a student and the student’s family if the student has been identified as being at increased risk of suicide.


Montgomery County Children’s Crisis Support Phone - 1.888.435.7414
The Montgomery County Children’s Crisis Support offers telephone and mobile crisis support to children, adolescents and their family members, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A trained crisis support professional will help stabilize the immediate crisis through phone and/or face-to-face contact - and continue to provide support until additional resources can be contacted. All services are provided at no charge.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has been at the forefront of a wide range of suicide prevention initiatives - each designed to reduce loss of life from suicide. They are investing in groundbreaking research, new educational campaigns, innovative demonstration projects and critical policy work. And they are expanding their assistance to people, whose lives have been affected by suicide, reaching out to offer support and offering opportunities to become involved in prevention.

Services for Teens At Risk (STAR Center)
Services for Teens At Risk (STAR-Center) is a comprehensive research, treatment, and training center. Funded by the State of Pennsylvania’s General Assembly in 1986 to address adolescent suicide and depression, the program provides inpidual assessment and treatment to teens that are experiencing depression and suicidality. They also provide community education services about depression and suicidality to schools, social service agencies, churches and other organizations that request them.

The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.

Souderton Area School District’s Suicide Awareness and Prevention and Response Policy
The Suicide Awareness and Prevention and Response Policy - Policy 819 and additional resources are available at Board Docs -School Board Policy 819.