Mental Health Promotion

In August 2012 the Washington State Substance Abuse Prevention and Mental Health Promotion Five-Year Strategic Plan was completed, and was updated in November 2017. Depression and suicide prevention is identified as state priorities to address through mental health promotion.  The information below is to support and inform prevention professionals working on the individual or environmental level to improve effectiveness of promotion and prevention efforts.

Media Response to Suicide

You may get media inquiries related to the death of WSU quarterback, Tyler Hilinski. To improve media coverage about suicide, our partners at DBHR, DOH, and OSPI recommend the website, Reporting on Suicide. This resource explains how we can reframe a story on suicide to offer hope and encourage people to seek help. Best practices and guidelines for talking about suicide continue to evolve as we learn from research and the guidance of people who have attempted suicide or lost a loved one to suicide. Here is a current example of safe messaging.

We also encourage promoting local resources in articles. For example, WSU has encouraged students to use the WSU crisis line and for staff to contact EAP. This is a great example of directing people to the best community resource that can then refer them to further services if needed. Community stakeholders can partner with the media to promote the best resources for their area. State services can be found at how to access Medicaid mental health services and mental health crisis lines by county. 2-1-1 is also a great place to find local resources.

WA state agencies will continue to work on ways to improve community partnerships and media coverage of suicide. If you have any questions, please contact Billy Reamer (

Resources related to "13 Reasons Why"

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center has put together the below statement and list of resources that may be helpful in your efforts to respond to this difficult and timely topic.

In response to questions from several of you about the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” SPRC’s Grantee and State Initiatives Team has pulled together the following short list of key resources that may help you in supporting schools, parents, and communities, as well as key information on safe and effective ways of messaging about suicide risk and prevention as you and your partners respond. 

From Suicide Prevention Organizations

A Teachable Moment: Using 13 Reasons Why to Initiate a Helpful Conversation about Suicide Prevention and Mental Health (AFSP/ASCA/NASP) (Webinar)

Tips for Parents for Talking with their Children about 13 Reasons Why and Suicide (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)

Briefing in Connection with the Netflix Series 13 Reasons Why (International Association for Suicide Prevention)

13 Reasons Why Talking Points (The Jed Foundation/Suicide Awareness Voices of Education)

From Other Mental Health/Professional Organizations

13 Mental Health Questions about 13 Reasons Why (American Psychiatric Association)

13 Reasons Why Netflix Series: How School Counselors Can Help (American School Counselor Association)

13 Reasons Why Netflix Series: Considerations for Educators (National Association of School Psychologists)

13 Ways to Continue the Conversation about 13 Reasons Why (Active Minds)

Other Related Resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The Trevor Lifeline (The Trevor Project)

SPRC Web Page for Suicide Prevention in Schools (Suicide Prevention Resource Center)

Information for Parents webpage (Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide)

Not my Kid: What Parents Should Know about Teen Suicide (Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide) (Video)

Action Alliance Framework for Successful Messaging (National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention)

Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide (various)

There has been a very robust discussion and debate around the series itself on the American Association of Suicidology listserv – if you are interested in following that discussion and are not already subscribed, you can sign up for the list here.

-SPRC Grantee and State Initiatives Team

Preventing Suicide

To prevent suicide, people need to know about it and talk about it.

Suicide rates for Washington State youth remain higher than the national average (11.67 in Washington vs. 9.58 nationally). (CDC, 2013) And suicide, overall, is increasing in the state.


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