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Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Back to School

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Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Back to School

As your child returns to school this September, it’s important to be aware that it’s Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This time of year can be especially difficult for some students, and their risk of suicide may increase.  

While suicide rates among students decreased during the COVID lockdown, they went up by 18% when students returned to school. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), young people between the ages of 10 and 24 account for 15% of all suicides, making it the second leading cause of death for this age group.  

As a parent, it’s crucial to acknowledge that your child could be vulnerable to mental health concerns, even if they haven’t been medically diagnosed with a mental health disorder. AFSPA is committed to supporting you in identifying the symptoms and offering necessary assistance. 


What Signs to Look For  

  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain 
  • Talking about being a burden to others 
  • Acting anxious or agitated, behaving recklessly 
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves 
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge 
  • Extreme mood swings 
  • Lack of concentration 
  • Change in appetite or sleep pattern  


Ways You Can Help  

  • Talk and be there for them; respond with empathy  
  • Stay connected after they have had a crisis 
  • Check for problems at school  
  • Make sure to take control of phones, social media 
  • Promote healthy environments 


How AFSPA Can Help   

Members and dependents age 13 and up enrolled in the Foreign Service Benefit Plan (FSBP) can enroll in the following programs:  

  • myStrength™ is a program that provides you with evidence-based resources to help overcome obstacles of depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder while improving overall well-being through a personalized, evidence-based internet-enabled program.  

If you would like to enroll in the program, visit, select “Sign-up,” enter the access code FSBP” and complete the myStrength™ sign-up process with a brief Wellness Assessment and personal profile. 

  • Brightline is a behavioral health benefit for members enrolled in the Foreign Service Benefit Plan (FSBP). Delivered virtually by in-network providers, Brightline brings extraordinary behavioral health care for kids and teens, and support for parents and caregivers in the form of psychologists, psychiatrists, speech therapists, and more.  

FSBP stateside members can enroll at call the Brightline team at 888-224-7332 for any questions. 

  • Telehealth consultations are available to members in the United States through Teladoc™ where you can speak with a behavioral health provider for depression, anxiety, and stress.  

To register for Teladoc™ visit www.teladoc.comor call 855-Teladoc (855-835-2362) for more information. 


Additional Resources  

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, it’s important to know that help is available. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline offers confidential support that is free and accessible 24/7. Remember that recovery is possible and things can get better. Check out stories of hope and recovery on the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline website. 

The CDC’s What Works In Schools is a school-based health and wellness program that has been shown to improve students’ behaviors and experiences. Schools that have implemented the program have been able to support mental health and reduce suicidality. Check to see if your child’s school is a participant in What Works In Schools.  

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