November Health@School newsletter

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

health at school

If you thought that a child was thinking about suicide would you know the signs? Would you know what to do?

helping hands

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists suicide as the second leading cause of death for young people aged 10–24. According the 2015 Youth Risk Behaviors Survey, 8.6% of high schoolers had attempted suicide in the last 12 months. Girls attempted at approximately two times the rate of boys, and gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens were five times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

Suicide warning signs

The more warning signs, the greater the risk of suicide.

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Having extreme mood swings
  • Giving away belongings, including treasured objects

One of the myths about suicide is that when a young person talks or writes about killing themselves it’s just a bid for attention, “a cry for help”, or they’re just being overly dramatic. But a threat of suicide should never be dismissed. It’s important to respond to threats and other warning signs in a serious and thoughtful manner. While they don’t automatically mean that a child is going to attempt suicide, it’s a chance you can’t take.

Start the conversation

People sometimes worry that asking about suicide may make it more likely, but that actually isn’t the case. Asking is very important. For children who have a hard time admitting they need help, asking sends the message that someone cares about them and that struggling and asking for help is okay. The conversation can be lifesaving.

In this video created by Mayo Clinic, teens describe common signs that a teen is considering suicide, and provide encouragement for communicating directly and immediately for support and safety. It also includes suggestions for what to say to a teen who may be at risk for suicide and ways to keep them safe.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide:

  • In Hennepin County call:
    • 612-348-2233 (children up to 17 years)
    • 612-596-1223 (persons 18 and older)
  • NAMI MN       Suicide prevention classes


A simple and effective strategy for building connectedness: a daily positive classroom greeting!

In a recent study, five middle school teachers whose classes had high rates of disruptive and off-task behaviors were given training and follow-up support on a specific approach for greeting students at their classroom door.

Read on to learn the results.

Vaping resources

According to the 2019 Minnesota Student Survey, one in four Minnesota 11th graders reported using an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. That represents a 54% increase from the 2016 survey. The jump among eighth graders is even more significant, with nearly twice as many students (11% in 2019 compared to 5.7% in 2016) reporting using an e-cigarette in the past 30 days.

  • The Minnesota Department of Health School E-cigarette Toolkit (PDF) provides resources for school staff working to address the use of vaping products in schools.
  • Tools to Assist Schools Navigate the Vaping Epidemic – this webinar from the Public Health Law Center will provide information about trends in youth use and adverse effects, the role schools can play in addressing vaping, and highlights of a model school policy. An overview of the American Lung Association’s INDEPTH program will also be discussed.

Every Kid Healthy MN Conference

The 2019 Every Kid Healthy Minnesota Conference will provide participants with a wealth of opportunities to learn and be inspired to support student wellness. View the full schedule.

Farm to School trainings

The Farm to School program offers multiple strategies to improve the health of students and communities. Join other school nutrition professionals to discuss successful Farm to School strategies at upcoming training sessions in December:

  • Dec. 3; 9 a.m. to noon – Minnesota Department of Education, Roseville
  • Dec. 10; 9 a.m. to noon – DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Bemidji
  • Dec. 18; 1 to 4 p.m. – Watonwan County/St. James Public Library, St. James

These trainings will also cover where to find local foods in your area, how to connect with farmers, ways to promote and market your Farm to School initiatives, and how to move Farm to School beyond the cafeteria.

Learn more and register

Asthma Friendly Schools mini-grant program

The Minnesota Asthma Friendly Schools mini-grant program was developed by the Minnesota Asthma Program to support schools in becoming more asthma friendly.

Grants of up to $1,500 are available to implement a variety of school-based projects. Minnesota K-12 schools are invited to apply. Projects may be implemented in one or more schools or district-wide.

For more information and to apply

Hennepin County Logo