The online youth suicide prevention trainings provide excellent guidance on talking with young people who may be experiencing mental health problems, thoughts of suicide, or challenging situations. You may not, however, always have resources like a counselor, psychologist, or social worker available nearby, as is the case in schools. Here are some tips to help you connect young people to additional support.
- If you think the person is actively suicidal, do not leave him or her alone. Immediately call 911 or Community Services Board (CSB) Emergency Services at 703-573-5679. Both are available 24 hours a day.
- Encourage the young person to seek out someone at school. You can even call the school directly to refer the young person. Ask to speak to a counselor, psychologist, or social worker.
- Contact the PRS CrisisLink hotline. PRS CrisisLink is a free and confidential service staffed by highly trained paraprofessional volunteers and crisis line workers. It is available 24 hours a day. The hotline is not just for people who are thinking about suicide. People call PRS CrisisLink to talk with an empathic person if they feel they might be in danger of hurting themselves, and to find referrals to mental health and other community services.
- You can encourage the young person to call PRS CrisisLink themselves. Or you can call to get ideas and tips about how to help the young person; PRS CrisisLink can even contact the young person directly if you refer them, or you can hand the phone over to the young person after you initiate the call. Or you can call together, along with the young person, as a show of support.
- You can reach PRS CrisisLink by phone at 703-527-4077 or by texting “CONNECT” to 855-11. Fairfax County Public Schools students can text “NEEDHELP” to 855-11 to reach PRS CrisisLink.
- Encourage the young person’s parents to call Community Services Board (CSB) Entry and Referral Services at 703-383-8500 for assistance in identifying appropriate public or private behavioral health care services.