Texas Suicide Prevention

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Welcome to the Texas Department of State Health Services Suicide Prevention Homepage. We hope you will find information of use and interest to you and those you serve. If you have any questions or comments, we welcome your thoughts: mhsa@dshs.state.tx.us.

If you or someone you know need help, please call one of the crisis numbers below:

Table for crisis hotlines

Crisis Hotlines

Spotlight: Smartphone Applications

The world’s first suicide prevention App for Smartphones was developed right here in Texas. Learn More or Download for Free »

Spotlight: Help in Texas

DSHS staff talk about how to get help in Texas in this video: “Suicide Prevention Resources in Texas: Where to go if You or a Family Member Needs Help

Texas Suicide Prevention Plan

Best Practice-Based Resources for Public Schools 

Every year, DSHS updates a list of recommended programs for public school implementation. The work is done in accordance with legislation, and includes the Texas Education Agency and Education Service Centers.

The following resources help educators learn about mental health intervention and development, substance abuse prevention and intervention, and suicide prevention. Several of these programs are for curriculums to be used in the classroom, but many are knowledge-based for educators themselves.

Programs with an asterisk* cover multiple domains.

The National Registry of Evidence Based Programs Practices (NREPP) is a searchable online database of more than 340 substance abuse and mental health interventions. Additionally, the Best Practice Registry of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center includes best practice-based suicide prevention programs.

Early Mental Health Intervention

The Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators
The Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators was developed to provide school administrators, teachers, staff, and concerned parents with basic information about working with traumatized children in the school system. This toolkit is free through The National Child Traumatic Stress Network website.

Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS)
The Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) program is a school-based, group and individual intervention. It is designed to reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and behavioral problems, and to improve functioning, grades and attendance, peer and parent support, and coping skills. CBITS has been used with students from 5th grade through 12th grade who have witnessed or experienced traumatic life events such as community and school violence, accidents and injuries, physical abuse and domestic violence, and natural and man-made disasters.

Incredible Years

  • Incredible Years is a set of three interlocking, comprehensive, and developmentally based training programs for children and their parents and teachers. These programs are guided by developmental theory on the role of multiple interacting risk and protective factors in the development of conduct problems.
  • The Incredible Years teacher program is one of 3 components of Incredible Years. The teacher training program is delivered to early childhood and elementary school teachers of young children (3-8 years) and consists of 42 hours (6 days) of monthly workshops delivered by a trained facilitator. The program focuses on strengthening teachers' classroom management strategies; promoting children's prosocial behavior, emotional self-regulation, and school readiness; and reducing children's classroom aggression and noncooperation with peers and teachers. The training also helps teachers collaborate with parents to support parents' school involvement and promote consistency between home and school.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)*  
MHFA is an 8-hour face-to-face course that trains participants how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training includes: risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems; information on depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis, and addiction disorders; a 5-step action plan to help someone developing a mental health problem or in crisis; and where to turn for help – professional, peer, and self-help resources. MHFA teaches about recovery and resiliency – the belief that individuals experiencing these challenges can and do get better, and use their strengths to stay well.

Olweus Bullying Program*
Olweus Bullying Program utilizes online courses, web conferences and in-person program implementation seminars. These interactive programs provide key information about bullying, cyber bullying, and dating violence, and explain how schools, community organizations, and parents can create safe, healthy environments.

Psychological First Aid for Schools
Psychological First Aid for Schools is an evidence-informed approach for assisting children, adolescents, adults, and families in the aftermath of a school crisis, disaster, or terrorism event.

Mental Health Promotion and Positive Youth Development

Caring School Community
Caring School Community (CSC), formerly called the Child Development Project, is a universal elementary school (K-6) improvement program aimed at promoting positive youth development. The program is designed to create a caring school environment characterized by kind and supportive relationships and collaboration among students, staff, and parents.

Early HeartSmarts Program for Preschool Children
The Early HeartSmarts Program for Preschool Children is designed to facilitate the social, emotional, physical (i.e., motor skills), cognitive, and language development of children ages 3-6. The program is based on over a decade of research on the role that positive emotions play in the functioning of the body, brain, and nervous system and the subsequent positive impact of these emotions on cognitive development.

Good Behavior Game (GBG)*
Good Behavior Game (GBG) is a classroom-based behavior management strategy for elementary school that teachers use along with a school's standard instructional curricula. GBG uses a classroom-wide game format with teams and rewards to socialize children to the role of student and reduce aggressive, disruptive classroom behavior, which is a risk factor for adolescent and adult illicit drug abuse, alcohol abuse, cigarette smoking, antisocial personality disorder, and violent and criminal behavior.

Michigan Model for Health*
The Michigan Model for Health is a comprehensive and sequential health education curriculum that aims to give students aged 5-19 years (grades K-12) the knowledge and skills needed to practice and maintain healthy behaviors and lifestyles.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Family-to-Family Education Program
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Family-to-Family Education Program is a 12-session course for family caregivers of individuals living with serious mental illness. The curriculum-based course covers a range of topics, including participants' emotional responses to the impact of mental illness on their lives, current information about many of the major mental illnesses, current research related to the biology of brain disorders, and information on the evidence-based treatments that are most effective in promoting recovery.

Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines
The Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines (V-STAG) is a school-based manualized process designed to help school administrators, mental health staff, and law enforcement officers assess and respond to threat incidents involving students in kindergarten through 12th grade and prevent student violence.

Substance Abuse Prevention

Good Behavior Game (GBG)*
Good Behavior Game (GBG) is a classroom-based behavior management strategy for elementary school that teachers use along with a school's standard instructional curricula. GBG uses a classroom-wide game format with teams and rewards to socialize children to the role of student and reduce aggressive, disruptive classroom behavior, which is a risk factor for adolescent and adult illicit drug abuse, alcohol abuse, cigarette smoking, antisocial personality disorder, and violent and criminal behavior.

I'm Special
I'm Special is a substance abuse prevention program for 3rd and 4th graders. The primary goal of the program is to develop and nurture each child's sense of uniqueness and self-worth. It further enhances the protective and resiliency factors of children by teaching them appropriate ways for dealing with feelings; steps for making decisions; and skills for healthy living, effective group interactions, and resisting drugs, as provided through the program's "no use" message.

Michigan Model for Health*
The Michigan Model for Health is a comprehensive and sequential health education curriculum that aims to give students aged 5-19 years (grades K-12) the knowledge and skills needed to practice and maintain healthy behaviors and lifestyles.

PALS: Prevention through Alternative Learning Styles
PALS: Prevention through Alternative Learning Styles is an alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD) prevention program primarily for middle school students. Goals of PALS include (1) lowering students' intentions to use ATOD, (2) increasing students' use of refusal skills, and (3) enhancing students' knowledge of the effects of ATOD, peer pressure and healthy decision making, and different learning styles.

Peer Assistance and Leadership (PAL)*
Peer Assistance and Leadership (PAL) is a peer helping program that seeks to build resiliency in youth by pairing youth with peer helpers who receive training and support from teachers participating in the program.

Substance Abuse Intervention

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)*
MHFA is an 8-hour face-to-face course that trains participants how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training includes: risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems; information on depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis, and addiction disorders; a 5-step action plan to help someone developing a mental health problem or in crisis; and where to turn for help – professional, peer, and self-help resources. MHFA teaches about recovery and resiliency – the belief that individuals experiencing these challenges can and do get better, and use their strengths to stay well.

Suicide Prevention

ASK about Suicide to Save a Life Gatekeeper Training
ASK about Suicide to Save a Life is a gatekeeper training that can be modified between 1-3 hours, based on the needs of the trainees. It is similar to Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) and is a best practice training that was developed in Texas, with Texas specific data, resources and information. Participants have opportunities to learn the warning signs, protective and risk factors about suicide. They will learn how to ask people directly about suicidal thoughts and behaviors and how to refer them to appropriate help. There are trainings offered across Texas, as well as an online video of two ASK Master Trainers teaching a sample course for an hour. There are also accompanying power point presentation materials.

At-Risk (Kognito)
At-Risk is a one hour online training for Elementary, Middle School, and High School educators. This online, interactive professional development program uses virtual role-play to help school faculty, staff, and administrators learn common signs of psychological distress and how to approach an at-risk student for referral to the school counselor.

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)
ASIST is founded on the principle that everyone can make a difference in preventing suicide. Developed in 1983 and regularly updated to reflect improvements in knowledge and practice, ASIST is the world’s leading suicide intervention workshop. During the two-day interactive session, participants learn to intervene and help prevent the immediate risk of suicide.

Model Adolescent Suicide Prevention Program (MASPP)
The Model Adolescent Suicide Prevention Program (MASPP) is a public health-oriented suicidal-behavior prevention and intervention program originally developed for a small American Indian tribe in rural New Mexico to target high rates of suicide among its adolescents and young adults.

Olweus Bullying Program*
Olweus Bullying Program utilizes online courses, web conferences and in-person program implementation seminars. These interactive programs provide key information about bullying, cyber bullying, and dating violence, and explain how schools, community organizations, and parents can create safe, healthy environments.

Peer Assistance and Leadership (PAL)*
Peer Assistance and Leadership (PAL) is a peer helping program that seeks to build resiliency in youth by pairing youth with peer helpers who receive training and support from teachers participating in the program.

Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) Gatekeeper Training
QPR Gatekeeper Training is three steps that anyone can learn to help prevent suicide. Just like CPR, QPR is an emergency response to someone in crisis and can save lives.

safeTALK
safeTALK is a 4-hour gatekeeper training and excellent tool for people who want to become alert to the dangers of suicide in a convenient timeframe. Although formal caregivers such as social workers and counselors employ safeTALK skills, the program is also used by students, teachers, community volunteers, first responders, military personnel, police, public and private employees, and professional athletes – among many others. By providing a universal model with adaptable components, safeTALK offers useful skills to every audience.

SOS Signs of Suicide
SOS Signs of Suicide is a secondary school-based suicide prevention program that includes screening and education. Students are screened for depression and suicide risk and referred for professional help as indicated.

Educator Preparation Programs (EPP) Resources

Effective September 1, 2015, TEC 21.044(c-1) requires a person seeking a certificate that includes a bachelor’s degree as part of the minimum academic qualifications to receive instruction regarding mental health, substance abuse, and youth suicide as part of the training required to obtain that certificate. The mental health instruction must include effective strategies for teaching and intervening with students with mental or emotional disorders, including de-escalation techniques and positive behavioral interventions and supports. The resources listed below have been recommended by a panel of experts in the diagnosis and treatment of mental or emotional disorders to meet this requirement.

At-Risk (Kognito) Training
At-Risk is a one hour online training for Elementary, Middle School, and High School educators. This online, interactive professional development program uses virtual role-play to help school faculty, staff, and administrators learn common signs of psychological distress and how to approach an at-risk student for referral to the school counselor.

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training
MHFA is an 8-hour face-to-face course that trains participants how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training includes: risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems; information on depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis, and addiction disorders; a 5-step action plan to help someone developing a mental health problem or in crisis; and where to turn for help – professional, peer, and self-help resources. MHFA teaches about recovery and resiliency – the belief that individuals experiencing these challenges can and do get better, and use their strengths to stay well.

Texas Behavior Support Initiative Training
The Texas Behavior Support Initiative (TBSI) training is designed to provide foundational knowledge for the use of positive behavior interventions and supports for all students, including those with disabilities. While the TBSI training meets legislative requirements related to procedures for the use of restraint and time-out, it also provides a framework for sharing a wide range of foundation-level behavior strategies and prevention-based school-wide, classroom, and individual interventions.

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Last updated July 06, 2015