background shadows

May is Mental Health Awareness month, and the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Division of Family and Community Partnerships’ Office of School Linked Services would like to promote the importance of mental health awareness as it pertains to suicide prevention.

Each year millions of people around the world are diagnosed with a mental illness. Depression is one of the warning signs of suicide.  Depression is more than just feeling sad or going through a rough patch. It’s a serious mental health condition that requires understanding, treatment and a good recovery plan.[1]

A recent article posted by Teen Vogue, Middle School Students Are More Likely to Die By Suicide Than in Car Accidents, speaks to the alarming rate of suicide among children age 10-14.

We all need to understand when a child is in crisis, recognize the warning signs of suicide, and know where to get help.  Educate yourself and become familiar with the information and resources below:



New Jersey Youth Suicide Prevention Advisory Council
  • Established in the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, the New Jersey Youth Suicide Prevention Advisory Council is comprised of appointed New Jersey citizens and representatives from a number of state departments. The Council examines existing needs and services and makes recommendations for youth suicide reporting, prevention and intervention; advises on the content of informational materials to be made available to persons who report attempted or completed suicides; and advises in the development of regulations required pursuant to N.J.S.A. § 30:9A-25 et seq. For more information related to the council email

  • Council’s Guidance related to the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why
    13 Reasons Why is a series about a young high school girl who dies by suicide. She sends out 13 cassette tapes explaining her reasons. The series was adapted from a book of the same name.  While the show is fictional, the series is extremely graphic and raises significant concerns about the emotional safety of those watching it, especially youth who may have had experience with mental health issues, or suicidal thoughts or behaviors.  Michelle Scott, Ph.D., M.S.W., Chair, New Jersey’s Youth Suicide Prevention Advisory Council, shares the following message on behalf of the Council:

We, at New Jersey’s Youth Suicide Prevention Advisory Council, want you to be aware of this series and how to provide some safety for youth around the show’s content and any feelings the show may be bringing up for them.  In order to address these issues with teenagers we need to remember to ask about what they are feeling and seeing and we need to listen.  While there are some very disturbing and graphic scenes and ideas, there are some strengths in the series that provide excellent opportunities to have a conversation about suicide prevention and how to protect yourself and your friends.  We encourage parents to watch the series with their children and have these conversations openly rather than simply criticizing a series that most teens are already watching.  We have provided a handout from the National Association of School Psychologists which provides some excellent guidelines for discussion and response whether you are an educator, mental health professional, parent or youth. Click here to view the guidelines.

We encourage you to share these talking points, as well as the resources listed below, with anyone who has contact with youth including teachers, counselors, parents etc.  We understand that this material can be difficult and if you do not feel comfortable or if you are interested in further education on how to become a partner in youth suicide prevention, how to get additional suicide prevention education or training, or if you are in need of mental health support for yourself or others, we encourage you to reach out to the following resources.

Mental Health Resources:  
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  1-800-273- TALK
NJ Hopeline  1-855-NJ-HOPELINE (654-6735)
2NDFLOOR Youth Helpline 888-222-2228 (call or text)
Training and Education Resources:  
Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth  (732) 235-2810  









New Jersey Strategy for Youth Suicide Prevention and Annual Suicide Report
  • To learn about the State's efforts to prevent youth suicides, read the New Jersey Youth Suicide Prevention State Plan. DCF is dedicated to continuing to work to prevent youth suicides in New Jersey and this plan helps provide guidance for this important task. 

  • New Jersey Youth Suicide Report 2016 provides annual data related to youth suicide attempts and completions in New Jersey.  DCF's Adolescent Suicide Report.


Keep New Jersey Informed

Help New Jersey target its suicide prevention efforts and real time reporting of suicide attempts and completions. Visit DCF’s website here to learn more about who should report and how to report data related to a youth who has attempted or may have died by suicide.