SAP Newsletter

September 2022 - Suicide Prevention Month

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Welcome Back to School, students and families!

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Our SAP Counselors would like to raise awareness on this topic and provide resources to students, staff, and families in the community.

An estimated 703,000 people a year take their life around the world. For every suicide, there are likely 20 other people making a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide. Millions of people suffer intense grief or are otherwise profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviors.

Each suicidal death is a public health concern with a profound impact on those around them. By raising awareness, reducing the stigma around suicide, and encouraging well-informed action, we can reduce instances of suicide around the world. (World Health Organization)

“This life. This night. Your story. Your hope. It matters. All of it matters.” Jamie Tworkowski

SAP is here to assist you!

The Student Assistance Program, or SAP, is mandated by the state of Pennsylvania to be in every school. It is a team of school personnel (school counselors, teachers, school nurse, etc.) and a behavioral health community liaison (SAP counselor) working together to identify and address concerns that may be interfering with a student's ability to be successful in school.

The SAP team have all received specialized training in providing Student Assistance Program services from the PA Department of Education and are trained to understand issues of mental health and chemical use, abuse, and dependency. The SAP program is a systematic process to identify issues and mobilize resources where the problems are beyond the scope of the school. The goal is for the school to work collaboratively with the student, family and community.


Understanding the issues concerning suicide is a crucial way to take part in suicide prevention and helping others in crisis.

  • In 2019, more than 47,000 people died by suicide, and millions more struggled with serious thoughts of suicide or supported someone close to them who was in distress
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth between 10 and 24 years of age, claiming 4,600 lives annually.
  • Suicide kills more teenagers and young adults than does cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined.
  • Every day, 5,400 youth in grades 7–12 attempt suicide.
  • Each year, around 157,000 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 are treated in emergency rooms for self-inflicted injuries.
  • Boys account for 81% of suicide deaths.
  • Girls are more likely to report attempting suicide than boys.
  • 4 out of 5 teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs.

While most of us assume that asking a loved one about suicidality can increase suicidal tendencies, several studies have found that questions about suicide do not increase potential suicidality. In fact, doing so could actually save a life.

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Know Some Risk Factors

Below are some risk factors that are important to be aware of. These risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide. The risk factors below can not cause or predict a suicide attempt but can help you identify an individual at risk.


  • Mental health conditions
    • Depression
    • Substance use problems
    • Bipolar disorder
    • Schizophrenia
    • Personality traits of aggression, mood changes and poor relationships
    • Conduct disorder
    • Anxiety disorders
  • Serious physical health conditions including pain
  • Traumatic brain injury


  • Access to lethal means including firearms and drugs
  • Prolonged stress, such as harassment, bullying, relationship problems or unemployment
  • Stressful life events, like rejection, divorce, financial crisis, other life transitions or loss
  • Exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of suicide


  • Previous suicide attempts (#1 risk factor of suicide)
  • Family history of suicide
  • Childhood abuse, neglect or trauma

-American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Know The Warning Signs

Warning signs may help you determine if someone you know is at risk for suicide. It is very important to be aware if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems 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.


If a person talks about:

  • Killing themselves
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Having no reason to live
  • Being a burden to others
  • Feeling trapped
  • Unbearable pain


Behaviors that may signal risk, especially if related to a painful event, loss or change:

  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Looking for a way to end their lives, such as searching online for methods
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Aggression
  • Fatigue


People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of interest
  • Irritability
  • Humiliation/Shame
  • Agitation/Anger
  • Relief/Sudden Improvement

-American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

How can bullying contribute to the risk of suicide?

Youth who report frequently bullying others AND youth who report being frequently bullied are at increased risk for suicide-related behavior. Youth who report both bullying others and being bullied (bully-victims) have the highest risk for suicide-related behavior of any groups that report involvement in bullying.

How has social media impacted teens' risk of self-harm and suicide?

It was found that social networking websites are utilized by suicidal and self-harming youth as a medium to communicate with and to seek social support from other users. Online social networking also leads to increased exposure to and engagement in self-harm behavior due to users receiving negative messages promoting self-harm, emulating self-injurious behavior of others, and adopting self-harm practices from shared videos. Greater time spent on social networking websites led to higher psychological distress, an unmet need for mental health support, poor self-rated mental health, and increased suicidal ideation. In conclusion, greater time spent on online social networking promotes self-harm behavior and suicidal ideation in vulnerable adolescents.

Have the rates of suicide increased as a result of the pandemic?

Problems resulting from the pandemic—including physical illness, loss of loved ones, anxiety, depression, job loss, eviction, and increased poverty—could all contribute to suicide risk. Today, perhaps more than ever before in our recent history, we need to come together as a nation to strengthen and support one another—to be there for our friends, family members, colleagues, neighbors, and others facing difficult times. All of us have a role to play in spreading kindness and compassion and supporting one another when we are struggling.
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What To Do

Everyone can help prevent suicide by learning the warning signs, promoting prevention and resilience, and committing to social change.

  • If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, call the National Suicide hotline, 988 immediately or email: Anyone who is depressed, going through a hard time, needs to talk, or is thinking about suicide can use this chat.

  • You can also text HOPELINE to 741741 if you are experiencing a crisis and a trained crisis counselor will respond. This resource is for those experiencing a mental health crisis OR any type of challenge or struggle. Visit Center for Suicide Awareness to learn more.

Local numbers:

Bucks Crisis Line: 1-800-499-7455

Mobile Crisis: 1-877-435-7709

First Responder Support Team (for first responders): 267-839-5400

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Phone Apps to Assist With Your Mental Well-Being

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Resources for Suicide Prevention

On July 16, 2022, the federally mandated crisis number, 988, became available to all landline and cell phone users, providing a single three-digit number to access a network of over 200 local and state funded crisis centers. 988 callers who are suicidal or experiencing a mental health crisis will be routed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and connected to a crisis counselor where they may receive crisis counseling, resources and referrals, and in some cases and where available, mobile crisis units may be dispatched.(Mobile crisis service not available yet.)


American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Implement the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention

Center for Disease Control

Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS)

Bucks County Data Overview

The Pennsylvania Youth Survey, or PAYS, is a tool in prevention. This approach looks at the rate of the problem behaviors as well as the root causes of those behaviors. The following data was taken from the 2021 Pennsylvania Bucks County PAYS report:

Bullying and Depressed Behavior:

  • 35.7% of students reported that "At times I think I am no good at all."
  • 37.4% of students reported they felt sad or depressed most day in the past 12 months.
  • Overall, 15.0% of students had seriously considered attempting suicide

Statistics on bullying and suicide:

PAYS data shows a strong relationship in Bucks County between being bullied and depression and suicidal behaviors.

  • 10% of students reported that they are rarely bullied
  • 7% of students reported that they are bullied now and then
  • Top two reported reasons for bullying: 1) height/weight and 2) how they were dressed

The correlation between bullying and suicide:

  • 25.8% of students who did NOT experience cyberbullying reported feeling so sad or hopeless almost every day for at least two weeks in past year that they stopped doing usual activities
  • 61.2% of students who DID experience cyberbullying reported feeling so sad or hopeless almost every day for at least two weeks in past year that they stopped doing usual activities
  • 73.9% of students who indicated they had skipped school due to bullying fears in the past year reported feeling so sad or hopeless almost every day for at least two weeks in past year that they stopped doing usual activities

Other data about depression and suicide

  • The 2021-2022 Bucks County Pennsylvania Safe to Say report shows that our youth submitted 1680 tips over the course of the school year. The top two areas of concern were Bullying/Cyber Bullying (265 tips) and Suicide/Suicide Ideation (120 tips).
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 10 to 24 year old's
  • Asking about suicide does not increase the risk of suicide. It is silence that is dangerous.
  • Depression is the #1 risk factor for suicide by teens.
  • Each year, approximately 157,000 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries at Emergency Departments across the U.S. (CDC).

*Info from 2021 Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) and the 2021-2022 Pennsylvania Safe to Say Something report

Resources in Bucks County

NAMI Bucks County, PA

NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

Lenape Valley Foundation (215-345-5300)

Penn Foundation (215) 257-6551

Penndel Mental Health Center (215) 752-1541

*Contact the number on your insurance card for appropriate provider


Girls & Boys Town National Hotline
(800) 448-3000

National Hopeline Network

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
(800) 273-TALK (8255)

National Youth Crisis Hotline
(800) 442-HOPE (4673)

Awareness and Prevention Resources

Creating Hope Through Action
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