King County launches new effort to prevent youth suicide, invites you to join

September is coming around the corner, and we are preparing for September Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.  

King County DCHS partnered with Rescue Agency to develop a countywide Youth Suicide Prevention Campaign to help prevent youth suicide during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September, including a Suicide Prevention Week of Action that will take place September 10 – September 16, 2023. 

This community effort has been developed to center the September Suicide Prevention Week of Action as a way we can all partner to equip our communities to prevent youth suicide by knowing what to do when we see someone in distress or crisis.  

A new website at, which just launched on Friday, 8/18, will provide hosts with all the information they need to hold an event, information around the Ask, Listen, and Learn (ALL) conversation model, a map to find participating hosts, as well as local and national mental health and suicide prevention resources. 

Suicide Prevention Week of Action: September 10 – 16 

Struggling with suicidal thoughts can be isolating. This isolation is compounded by the fact that those who want to help may not know what to do or might think that asking hurts, not helps.  

But the opposite is true: Through this Suicide Prevention Week of Action, we aim to show that anyone can provide critical and life-saving suicide prevention support when they know how to ask (ask direct questions), how to listen (listen with purpose), and what to learn (learn important information and what support is needed), or “ALL”. 

The Suicide Prevention Week of Action’s goal is to create a community-oriented movement around suicide prevention through organization and individual-hosted events. Event hosts might include individuals and organizations who care for youth, behavioral health and mental health organizations, community centers, schools and universities, faith-based organizations and more. The grass roots regional coalition is looking to reach trusted adults or peers of youth to educate them on how to support and connect youth to mental health resources. 

To learn more about the Suicide Prevention Week of Action please visit where you can sign up for the newsletter or take part in hosting an event.  

We’re asking for your help! 

With your help, Suicide Prevention Week of Action can have a wide-reaching, long-lasting positive impact. Here are two ways you can make a difference: 

  1. Become a host!  
  1. Spread the word by sending a message to your network to ask them to become hosts.  

What will Suicide Prevention Week of Action events look like? The events are designed to be an informational table with hosts that will engage with caring adults who want to help youth that may be struggling with suicide ideation. Hosts will provide event attendees with suicide prevention tactics, resources, and guidance on how to reach out to youth at-risk for suicide, including how to have supportive conversations and effectively connect youth with life saving resources.   

At, hosts can register to receive information, access webinar recordings and slide presentations for tips and guidance on how to hold a Suicide Prevention Week of Action event, download digital toolkit materials, and add their event to a regional map. The digital toolkit materials include promotional materials, an event guide, signage and educational takeaways for the event.  

The website also allows for the public to access suicide prevention information, local and national resources, as well as discover what events are happening near them so that they may attend hosted events with the organizations listed on the map. 

In addition to the Suicide Prevention Week of Action, multiple different suicide prevention trainings will be available to event hosts, attendees, and the public, between September 13 and September 29 so that individuals can learn even more about how to prevent suicide amongst friends, loved ones, and community youth. More information and free registration links will be available on

Upcoming 2024 Youth Suicide Prevention Campaign  

The Week of Action is an extension of future King County Youth Suicide Prevention Campaigns which are expected to be in market in late summer and early fall of 2024. 

Youth suicide is a major concern nationally and is a growing concern that needs to be addressed. Nationally, suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth ages 15-24. In King County, Youth have some of the highest rates of suicide attempts for their age group and have high rates of suicide ideation and self-harm. Local statistics are alarming: 18% of Washington 10th graders report they considered attempting suicide in the past year, 12% report having a plan for a suicide attempt, and 7% report attempting suicide. Youths aged 14-17 have the highest rate of emergency department visits for suicide ideation and attempts.  

Data shows the pandemic worsened youth mental health effects in King County. However, suicide ideation and attempts were rising prior to the pandemic and have continued to rise. COVID-19 had an impact on youth, and now we’re seeing a ‘second pandemic’ of behavioral health issues. Emergency department data for hospitals in King County show that the number of visits involving suicide attempts among King County residents aged 14-24 continued to rise before and throughout the pandemic from 2019 to 2021. 

The upcoming campaign will explore some of the effects of social media on youth behavioral health. Youth who spent more than three hours per day on social media often tend to have poorer mental health outcomes. A longitudinal cohort study of U.S. adolescents aged 12-15 that adjusted for baseline mental health status found that adolescents who spent more than three hours per day on social media faced double the risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression and anxiety.  


Get in touch with Margaret Soukup, Youth, Family and Prevention Manager at the King County DCHS Behavioral Health & Recovery Division, who is the point of contact at DCHS.