Culture of Caring

Touched By Suicide Loss

September is Suicide Prevention Month. Events and activities are happening all over the world to bring attention to suicide and its consequences. It’s your opportunity to increase awareness and take action.

Have you been touched by suicide loss? They say that every suicide has a ripple effect that spreads out from the person who died and touches not only family and friends, but everyone who knows of the loss.

If you have been touched by suicide loss, what can you do this day, this week, or this month to prevent another death?

Know the facts

Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. It was responsible for nearly 46,000 deaths in 2020.

In 2020, an estimated 12.2 million adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million made a plan, and 1.2 million attempted suicide.

Suicide rates in 2020 were 30% higher than in 2000.

Suicide can be prevented

Strengthen economic supports

  • Strengthen household financial security
  • Housing stabilization policies

Strengthen access and delivery of suicide care

  • Coverage of mental health conditions in health insurance policies
  • Reduce provider shortages in underserved areas
  • Safer suicide care through systems change

Create protective environments

  • Reduce access to lethal means among persons at risk of suicide
  • Organizational policies and culture
  • Community-based policies to reduce excessive alcohol use

Promote connectedness

  • Peer norm programs
  • Community engagement activities

Teach coping and problem-solving skills

  • Social-emotional learning programs
  • Parenting skill and family relationship programs

Identify and support people at risk

  • Gatekeeper training
  • Crisis intervention
  • Treatment for people at risk of suicide
  • Treatment to prevent re-attempts

Lessen harm and prevent future risk

  • Postvention
  • Safe reporting and messaging about suicide

Learn more

Risk and protective factors


Call to action

  1.     Pick one topic that resonates.
  2.     Take action.
  3.     Make a commitment to the person who touched you.


A Culture of Caring: A Suicide Prevention Guide for Schools (K-12) was created as a resource for educators who want to know how to get started and what steps to take to create a suicide prevention plan that will work for their schools and districts. It is written from my perspective as a school principal and survivor of suicide loss, not an expert in psychology or counseling. I hope that any teacher, school counselor, psychologist, principal, or district administrator can pick up this book, flip to a chapter, and easily find helpful answers to the questions they are likely to have about what schools can do to prevent suicide.

Theodora Schiro