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Suicide Prevention

It is ethically essential to do ALL we can to prevent suicide in the Jeffco community. Improving emotional and behavioral health and removing barriers for students is a top priority.

Every person every day with ribbon

Risk Factors, Warning Signs and Protective Factors

Risk Factors - Risk Factors do not cause or predict a suicide. Risk factors are characteristics or conditions that increase the chance that a person may consider or attempt suicide.

Warning Signs - Observable behaviors that signal suicidal thinking.

Protective Factors - Characteristics associated with a lower likelihood of negative outcomes or that reduce a risk factor's impact. Influences that make it less likely that individuals will develop a mental health problem. They include biological, psychological, or social factors in the individual, family, or community. Protective factors help to lower the risk level of suicide and other self-destructive behaviors.

Knowing youth risk factors, warning signs and protective factors can help to save a life.

Learn the Signs & How to Help (English)

Learn the Signs & How to Help (Spanish)

What You Can Do

You can A.C.T. to keep a young person safe

Acknowledge: Learn about the signs of depression and suicide. If you notice signs, take them seriously.

Care: Show you care by listening without judgement and ask directly about suicide.

Tell: Get help by telling a trusted adult or mental health professional.  A trained therapist can assess the level of risk and help to determine the best next steps to keep the person safe and connect them to the right kind of support.

Crisis Numbers and Walk in Center Locations (English)

Crisis Numbers and Walk in Center Locations (Spanish)

Educational Resources for Families

As a family member, you can approach suicide prevention in the same way you do other safety or health issues for your students. By educating yourself, you can learn what puts kids at greatest risk for suicide – and what protects them most strongly.

Community Training for Families

QPR for Families Suicide Prevention Training

QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — 3 simple steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. This training focuses primarily on youth, but the concepts are protective for any relationship and people of all ages. Learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to help. 

Virtual QPR Training for Caregivers (English) Capacitación QPR para padres y los que cuidan a niños (Spanish)

QPR Registration

Suicide Prevention & Intervention in Jeffco Schools

Jeffco’s comprehensive, evidence-based approach to suicide prevention, intervention and postvention is rooted in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s (AFSP) Model School District Policy on Suicide Prevention.


Elementary students

It is never too early to start reducing risk factors for suicide and increasing the protective factors in students’ lives. Programs that support mental health, develop life skills and promote the development of positive relationships with caring adults may help protect students from suicide and support a healthy transition into adulthood. 

Part of the elementary student experience in Jeffco is to engage in Second Step,  a leading research-based social-emotional learning curriculum for students in Kindergarten–Grade 5. This type of skill building promotes numerous positive outcomes in life, including reducing the risk for suicide. 

Secondary students

Middle school is a time of growth and change. Second Step® Middle School, a social-emotional learning program for Grades 6–8, is backed by the latest research in adolescent brain development and social psychology to help kids. Second Step lessons are used in many Jeffco Middle Schools. 

In transitioning from middle school to high school, adolescents encounter a much larger student body, a more impersonal environment, increased academic rigor and expectations and fewer emotional supports. School Connect improves the social, emotional and academic skills of high school students and creates supportive relationships among students and between students and teachers. The curriculum has five competency areas: social awareness, self-awareness, self-management, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.

Through the SOS Signs of Suicide program, 7th, 9th, and 12th grade students learn how to recognize the signs of depression and suicide in their peers and in themselves. They also learn how to be a supportive person while connecting with adults who can help. 

SOS Signs of Suicide is a universal, evidence-based school prevention program for middle school and high school students. The goals of this program are:

  • Decrease suicide and suicide attempts by increasing student knowledge and adaptive attitudes about depression.
  • Encourage personal help-seeking or help-seeking on behalf of a friend.
  • Reduce the stigma of mental illness and acknowledge the importance of seeking help or treatment.
  • Engage parents and school staff as partners in prevention through “gatekeeper” education.
  • Encourage schools to develop community-based partnerships to support student mental health.

SOS Signs of Suicide uses the ACT acronym to teach youth and people working with youth how to:

  1. Acknowledge the signs of depressions and suicide  
  2. Show care and concern 
  3. Tell an adult who can help

Many of Jeffco’s secondary school’s have Sources of Strength peer leader teams. that create school-wide opportunities to increase wellbeing, help-seeking, resiliency, healthy coping and belonging. The Sources of Strength model uses an upstream approach for youth suicide prevention that considers and addresses the causes of the problems. This upstream model strengthens multiple sources of support, or protective factors, for young people so that when times get hard, they have strengths to rely on.


Jeffco’s protocol for Screening for Suicide Risk (SSR) occurs when someone at the school is made aware that a student may be at risk for suicide.  School psychologists, social workers, counselors, social emotional learning specialists and other school leaders are trained to facilitate the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale tool. This tool helps them to gain a better understanding of the severity of the concern and to determine if there is risk potential.  

The school and mental health team will work collaboratively with families to identify immediate next steps and create a meaningful safety and support plan for the school environment.  If a student is in immediate danger, they may be transported to an urgent care facility by a School Resource Officer or by ambulance.  Every attempt to contact parents will be made prior to taking any urgent action. If your student has been evaluated or hospitalized for suicide risk outside of school hours, we strongly encourage you to contact the mental health professional at your student’s school to help with the transition back to school and safety and support planning.