MISD Suicide Prevention Information
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD NEEDS HELP?
While there are sometimes clear signs that a child needs mental health support, it’s not always obvious and we shouldn’t expect them to always ask for help directly. It is important that parents and other caregivers be aware of the common warning signs of suicide. According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, the following signs are indications that your child may be at immediate risk:
talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
looking for a way to kill oneself (for example, searching online to obtain a gun)
talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
If you notice any of the above three warning signs, you should immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 (the new quick-dial for 1-800-273-TALK) or contact a mental health professional.
Other signs may indicate that a youth is at serious risk, particularly if the behaviors are a significant change from what is typical:
talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain
talking about being a burden to others
increasing the use of alcohol or drugs, or using either to cope with mental distress
acting anxious, agitated, or behaving recklessly
sleeping too little or too much, compared to expected sleep patterns
withdrawing or feeling isolated
showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
displaying extreme mood swings
HOW DOES MISD WORK TO PREVENT SUICIDE?
School suicide prevention programs are important, recommended, and required for several reasons. Notably,
Children and adolescents spend a lot of time at school.
School personnel have an ethical and legal responsibility to make efforts to prevent youth suicide whenever possible.
The individuals who work with children at schools are well-positioned to both recognize suicide warning signs and intervene, when necessary.
Suicide prevention is now widely recognized as an important component of improving academic functioning.
MISD’s suicide prevention program takes a multitiered, team-based approach to keeping students safe:
All district staff who interact with students are routinely trained on how to recognize warning signs for suicide and other mental health concerns, and how to respond when they become aware of a potential need for intervention.
Students, too, receive information annually on recognizing and responding to warning signs in their peers.
At all MISD's middle and high schools, all student ID badges are printed with the contact information for The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. For more information on TX SB 279 and this state-wide suicide prevention initiative, see the Texas Education Agency's Mental and Behavioral Health support page.
Students who exhibit certain warning signs are given a screener to identify suicide risk. Once completed, the results of this screener and follow-up recommendations are promptly shared with the guardian in an emergency notification conference.
Recommended interventions will vary depending on student need, but may include home monitoring and safety-proofing, an individualized school-based safety plan, accessing community resources, or exploring the need for additional ongoing support in school.
For the highest risk cases, staff may recommend parents seek a full mental health evaluation for their child with a community provider. Staff will work with parents to find appropriate and available options for this service.
When a student is hospitalized due to a mental health concern, school staff will work with the student and guardian to ensure that there is sufficient emotional, behavioral, and academic support for that child upon return to school.
District specialists in school suicide prevention regularly review research, best-practice recommendations, and legal requirements to ensure that MISD’s prevention program remains robust and effective.
How Can I Keep My Child Safe At Home?
If you believe your child may be at risk, it is important to take steps to keep them safe at home. Increasing monitoring and limiting their access to potentially lethal means are two vital steps to protecting those who have exhibited warning signs.
Medication Safety: Be aware that many over-the-counter (OTC) medications can be highly dangerous or lethal in large enough quantities. Drugs containing Acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol, Midol) or Ibuprofen (e.g. Advil) are often implicated in suicide-related overdoses. Diphenhydramine (e.g. Benadryl) and Dextromethorphan (e.g. NyQuil) are particularly prone to abuse among adolescents. Be aware of the medications you have in your home—prescription and OTC—and take active steps to secure access to them:
Limit the amount of medication on hand to non-lethal doses. Your pharmacist or physician can provide information regarding safe quantities.
Consider locking up all medications, including over-the-counter. Medication lock boxes are available online and in many pharmacies.
Properly dispose of unneeded or out-of-date medications. Do not dispose of medications in the trash or toilet. Your local pharmacy may offer a safe disposal service or point you in the direction of one that does.
Keep only small quantities of alcohol in your home. Alcohol can greatly increase the lethality of all medications.
Firearm Safety: Firearms are the most common method used by individuals who die by suicide; the majority of children who die by this means use a family member’s gun, most often a parent’s. Certain home measures can help protect children against this serious risk.
Remove all firearms from the home. The safest measure is to remove any firearm from the home during the critical period when your child is at risk.
Lock up all firearms that are in the home. Many types of gun locks and safes are available at gun shops, sporting goods stores, or online. If you already use safes or locks, consider changing the code or rekeying (if possible), as children often know how to access locks that have been in place for a while.
Store gun unloaded, with ammunition stored separately. Ensure that ammunition is not stored in the same place as firearms.
See below for Malakoff ISD campus and district counselors contact information
Ms. Amanda Jones, Counselor
Tool Elementary School
903-432-2637 ext. 1603
Ms. Michelle Dickens, Counselor
Malakoff Elementary School
903-489-0313 ext. 1503
Ms. Laura Smith, Counselor
Malakoff Middle School