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BREADCRUMB

Suicide Prevention

Suicide is the leading cause of death among school-age youth. However, suicide is preventable. Youth who are contemplating suicide frequently give warning signs of distress. Parents, teachers, and friends are in key positions to pick up these signs and get help. It is important to take these warning signs seriously and never keep them secret. When all adults and students in the school community are committed to making suicide prevention a priority, and are empowered to take the correct actions, we can help youth before they engage in behavior with irreversible consequences.

Suicide Prevention Support

Community, State, and National Agencies

School Counselors

School counselors are available at every Bellevue school to support students in need of immediate assistance for thoughts of suicide. School counselors are trained in our suicide intervention procedures are often the first responders to reports of a student thinking about suicide. Counselors can help students with short-term concerns and help facilitate access to more long-term help.

Mental Health Assistance Team (MHAT)

MHAT counselors are available at every high school, middle school and choice school. They help provide the Signs of Suicide Lesson in grades 7-10, as well as provide the BIMAS2 screen for students in grades 7 through 11. The MHAT counselors are also trained in the district procedures around suicide intervention.

Learn more about how the Bellevue Schools Foundation funds the Signs of Suicide (SOS) program.

School-Based Community Mental Health Counselors

In addition to the school counselors and MHAT counselors, the Bellevue School District partners with multiple community-based mental health providers to support students after initial reports of suicide thinking. Counselors from these agencies can provide counseling in the school to help students in need. Contact your school counselor or MHAT counselor to request these services. Bellevue contracts with the following agencies:


Basic Definitions

Suicide: Death caused by injuring oneself with the intent to die.

Suicide Attempt: When someone harms themselves with any intent to end their life, but they do not die as a result of their actions.

Non-Suicidal Self Injury (NSSI): Self-injurious behavior not associated with intent to die. Intent for NSSI may be to relieve distress, communicate feelings, etc.

Risk Factors: Characteristics or conditions that increase the chance that a person may try to end their life.

Warning Signs

Often looks or sounds like a sudden, significant change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. The new or changed behavior can be related to a painful event, loss, or change. Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do.

Protective Factors

Characteristics or conditions that reduce a risk factor’s impact or decrease the chance that a person may try to end their life.

Coping Skills

An action, set of actions, or thought process that decreases tension and anxiety in a stressful or unpleasant situation. Coping skills can be both positive (i.e., adaptive), for example, taking time to meditate or exercise in the middle of a hectic day; or negative (i.e., maladaptive, avoidant).


Common Symptoms, Behaviors, Risk Factors

Below are some common symptoms associated with thoughts of suicide both at home and at school.

Home Risk Factors

Home Warning Signs

Warning Signs at School

  • Change in interaction with friends in class

  • Victim of assault or bullying

  • Talking, reading, or writing about death/suicide

  • Poor attendance

  • Acting out in class

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Withdrawal from activities and sports

  • Feeling embarrassed or humiliated

  • Unwillingness to seek help from teachers/staff

  • Poor grades and work completion

  • Use of alcohol or drugs at school

  • Skipping classes

  • Tardiness to school


District Policies and Procedures

The Bellevue School District has enacted several policies and procedures to support suicide prevention and intervention.
They include:


How Are Students With Thoughts of Suicide Identified?

Several district initiatives exist to identify students with thoughts of suicide, provide them with support, and improve outcomes.

Signs of Suicide (SOS) Lesson

The SOS lesson is an Evidence-Based Practice developed by MindWise that is provided to students grades 7 through 10. The goal of the lesson is to encourage help-seeking behavior through the ACT technique: Acknowledge signs of suicide in a friend, show your friend that you Care, and Tell a trusted adult. The lesson contains videos of adolescents sharing their stories about their struggles and getting help. The lesson includes brief discussion items as well as an “exit ticket” that students complete at the end of the lesson. On this ticket students can request to talk with a trusted adult about their own challenges or the challenges of a friend.

Behavior Intervention Monitoring and Assessment System 2 (BIMAS2) Screen

The BIMAS2 screen is an online self-report survey developed by Edumetrisis that is provided to BSD students in grades 7 through 11. The BIMAS2 screen is a 34-question self-report that asks students about their perceptions about their own anxiety, depression, conduct problems, and self-harm. It also asked about their functioning in social situations, school, and thinking abilities. Students who report thoughts of self-harm automatically receive a secondary suicide risk screen using the district procedures (2145P Exhibit A & 2145P Exhibit B). The results of the BIMAS2 for your child are available upon request. Parents are contacted when concerns arise about safety.