The Student Support Services works to support GSCS schools and students
- Reducing barriers to regular school attendance
- Increasing opportunities for participation in athletics and activities
- Providing positive and harmonious school environments, where diversity is respected and encouraged
Student Services represents a broad spectrum of supports and services within the school district's field of operation consisting of:
- Educational records maintenance policies
- Gifted services screening, evaluation, and programmatic oversight
- Guidance services and K-12 programming
- Homebound services
- Homeschool services & compliance
- Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness (ECYEH) & reporting
- Nursing & health related services
- School Psychology services and referrals / CRISIS INTERVENTION
- Special Education services including, but not limited to, K-12 programmatic design and state & federal compliance.
Gulf Shores City Schools coordinates prevention and intervention programs to support schools, students, and parents by addressing the cognitive, behavioral, social, and emotional needs of all students to maximize student achievement. GSCS provides a variety of supports, in collaboration with other agencies, to help students' well-being.
- Child Abuse
- Bullying and Harassment
- Child Find
- Code of Conduct
- Drug and Alcohol Prevention
- English Language Services (EL)
- Homeless Services
- Physical Restraint and Seclusion
- Section 504
- Suicide Prevention and Awareness
Attendance matters to academic performance. Students are chronically absent if they miss 10% of school days - that's only two days a month.
Studies show children who miss too many days in kindergarten and first grade can struggle academically in later years. They often have trouble mastering reading by the end of third grade.
By middle and high school, chronic absence is a leading warning sign that a student will drop out.
If your child is going to be absent from school, communicate with the school in advance. An academic plan may be needed to keep your child on track.
While attendance is very important, please keep your child home if they are truly sick.
Parents and guardians can help support regular attendance by:
- Avoiding extended vacations that require your children to miss school.
- Trying to line up vacations and doctor’s appointments with the school’s schedule.
- Setting a regular bedtime and morning routine allowing for 9 to 11 hours of sleep for younger students and 8 to 10 hours of sleep for older students.
- Laying out clothes and packing backpacks the night before to make your morning routines run more smoothly.
- Why is regular attendance important?
- What is an excused absence?
- How do I inform the school when my child is absent?
- How should I handle situations when our child will be absent for an extended time?
- When should I keep my child home from school?
Students who aren’t in school miss important learning. Missing just two days of school a month for any reason – illness, excused or unexcused absence – can affect student performance. Research has found a correlation between chronic or excessive absenteeism, whether excused or unexcused, and lower assessment scores and lower graduation rates.
Under state law, student absences will be considered excused for the following reasons:
- The student is participating in a district- or school-approved activity;
- The student is ill or has a health condition or medical appointment;
- The student has a family emergency;
- The student is absent due to the observance of a religious or cultural holiday;
- The student is involved in a court, judicial proceeding, or is serving on a jury;
- The student is participating in a post-secondary, technical school, or apprenticeship program visitation or scholarship interview;
- The student is participating in a state-recognized search and rescue activity;
- The student is absent due to an issue directly related to their homeless status;
- The student is absent related to the deployment activities of a parent or legal guardian who is on active duty;
- The student is absent due to school discipline; or
- The student is absent due to an activity that the principal and parent mutually approve of.
School principals have the authority to determine if an absence meets any of these criteria.
Ideally students are in school every day. When parents or guardians need to take their student out of town, they should make arrangements with the school for the absence. Provisions should be made by the parent for some program of study so that the student is not too far behind the instructional program on his/her return to school.
All Gulf Shores City School System employees and volunteers are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse and neglect. Child abuse includes physical abuse, physical neglect, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. Abuse information can be revealed during regular contact with a child in the classroom, in a counseling session, through reporting by another child or children of alleged incidents of suspected abuse. Employees and volunteers should immediately report suspected child abuse or neglect to a school counselor or school administrator.
Gulf Shores City Schools is committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all students. All students have the right to a safe, supportive school environment. Bullying, harassment, or intimidation will not be tolerated. Bullying and harassment are behaviors that make someone feel intimidated or offended. Bullying and harassment are unfair, one-sided, repeated and one person may be using their power over another person.
Reporting an incident
Bullying can be reported by students, parents, staff members, or anyone who witnesses or is concerned about an alleged incident.
All reports will be investigated. The school principal (or designee) must investigate within two school days, and parents should expect to hear about resolution within two further school days. The principal also reports the investigation and action taken to the district office.
If the investigation concludes that bullying took place, the bully will be disciplined in accordance with the Code of Conduct.
Gulf Shores City School System ensures that all children residing within the jurisdiction of the public education agency, birth to 21, regardless of the severity of their disability and who need special education and related services, are identified, located, and evaluated. Child Find applies to children who attend private schools, including children attending religious schools within the public education agency's jurisdiction, highly mobile children with disabilities (i.e., migrant and homeless children), and children who are suspected of having a disability and are in need of special education even thought they are advancing grade to grade. Child Find also includes a practical method of determining that eligible children with disabilities are receiving needed special education and related services.
(Public Education Agency Only)
Child Find activities will be conducted on a continuous basis as described below:
A. Procedures used to identify and locate children.
1. Gulf Shores City School System will provide on-going public notice of the services available to students with disabilities through various media including: radio and television announcements, articles and notices in the local newspaper, information provided on the Gulf Shores City School System website, posters placed in local school, agencies, hospitals, and pediatricians offices, Civic Clubs/Agency presentations, and/or Gulf Shores City Schools Student/Parent Information Guide.
2. The Gulf Shores City School System will contact individuals and agencies that provide services to children with disabilities through various means such as personal phone calls, meetings with special education personnel, and written correspondence. Such agencies include: Children's Rehabilitation Services, Department of Human Resources, Department of Mental Health, Department of Public Health, local health care and medical providers, day care centers, early intervention programs, i.e., Head Start, preschool programs, church or private kindergartens, private schools, speech and hearing center, and/or social security (migrant and homeless).
3. Gulf Shores City School personnel will implement the following procedures to ensure that students who may be in need of special education are identified: School personnel will review current state and local testing information, grades, and/or progress monitoring of intervention plans to identify students with possible learning problems. The Director of Special Education, the school administrator, and/or Special Education staff (In-person or online) will provide annual in-service training for local school personnel of the referral process for special education. Each school has a Problem Solving Team (PST) that will be utilized to facilitate in identifying students who may need special education services as opposed to those students who are at-risk or may not have had prior access to appropriate instruction/educational opportunities and interventions in the regular classroom.
Please view the fact sheets below for more information on drug and alcohol prevention.
The Truth about Drugs, Alcohol and E-Cigarettes
The Facts on Alcohol
The Facts on Marijuana
The Facts on Marijuana - Concentrates and Edibles
The Facts on E-Cigarettes
The Facts on Heroin
The Facts on Medication Abuse
The Facts on Safety - Prom and Graduation
The Facts on Synthetic Drugs
Alabama EL Resources
Family resources for ELL instruction from the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE)
WIDA Family Webinar, Part I (English)
My child is an English Language Learner. What does that mean?http://www.wida.us/get.aspx?id=767
WIDA Family Webinar, Part II (English)
My child is an English Language Learner. How is my child's language development supported at school?
WIDA Family Webinar, Part III (English)
My child is an English Language Learner. How do I know if my child is making progress?
WIDA Family Webinar, Part I (Español)
Mi hijo es un Idioma Inglés. ¿Que significa eso?
WIDA Family Webinar, Part II (Español)
Mi hijo es un Inglés como segunda lengua. ¿Cómo es mi hijo de desarrollo del lenguajesoportado en la escuela?http://www.wida.us/get.aspx?id=770
WIDA Family Webinar, Part III (Español)
Mi hijo es un Idioma Inglés. ¿Cómo puedo saber si mi hijo está progresando?
It is the policy of the Gulf Shores City Schools Board of Education to provide all students, including language minority students, migrant students, and homeless students, with meaningful and appropriate educational programs allowing all students the same benefits and rights of participation regardless of race, color, disability, sex, religion, national origin, or age. The enrollment of homeless, migrant and limited English proficient children and youth shall not be denied or delayed due to any of the following barriers:
- Lack of birth certificate
- Lack of school records or transcripts
- Lack of immunization or health records
- Lack of proof of residency
- Lack of transportation
- Guardianship or custody requirements
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act defines a homeless individual as one who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.
If your family lives in any of the following situations, you may be considered homeless:
- In a shelter, motel, vehicle, or campground
- On the street
- In an abandoned building, trailer, or other inadequate accommodations
- Doubled up with friends or relatives because you cannot find or afford housing
If your child is considered eligible for the homeless program, he/she has the right to:
- Access to the same public education as other children
- Continue in the school they attended before becoming homeless, if feasible.
- Participate in all programs and activities with students that are not homeless.
- Enroll immediately in school. The school will work with parents to obtain necessary records.
6.14 Physical Restraint and Seclusion
6.14.1 Policy Purpose:
a. Gulf Shores City Schools acknowledges that maintaining a school environment conducive to learning requires that the environment be orderly and safe. Accordingly, the system recognizes that physical restraint of a student may sometimes be necessary in order to protect the student or other individuals.
b. The purpose of this policy is to provide for the appropriate use of physical restraint only when needed to protect a student and/or member of the school community from imminent, serious physical harm, to prevent or minimize any harm to a student as a result of the use of physical restraint, and to prohibit other inappropriate forms of restraint.
c. It is the intent of this policy to emphasize and encourage the use of techniques for the prevention and de-escalation of inappropriate behavior, in order to reduce the risk of injury to students and program staff, as well as facilitate the care, safety, and welfare of students.
a. Physical restraint – is direct physical contact from an adult that prevents or significantly restricts a student’s movement. The term physical restraint does not include mechanical restraint or chemical restraint. Additionally, physical restraint does not include: providing limited physical contact and/or redirection to a student in order to promote safety or to prevent self-injurious behavior; providing physical guidance or prompting to a student when teaching a skill; redirecting attention; providing guidance to a location; providing comfort; or providing limited physical contact as reasonably needed to prevent imminent destruction to school or another person’s property.
b. Chemical restraint – is any medication that is used to control violent physical behavior or to restrict the student’s freedom of movement that is not a prescribed treatment for a medical or psychiatric condition of the student.
c. Mechanical restraint – is the use of any device or material attached to or adjacent to a student’s body that is intended to restrict the normal freedom of movement and which cannot be easily removed by the student. The term does not include an adaptive or protective device recommended by a physician or therapist when used as recommended by the physician or therapist to promote normative body positioning and physical functioning, and/or to prevent self-injurious behavior. The term also does not include seatbelts and other safety equipment when used to secure students during transportation.
d. Seclusion – is a procedure that isolates and confines the student in a separate, locked area until he or she is no longer an immediate danger to himself/herself or others. Seclusion occurs in a specifically constructed or designated room or space that is physically isolated from common areas and from which the student is physically prevented from leaving. Seclusion does not include situations in which a staff member trained in the use of de-escalation techniques or restraint is physically present in the same unlocked room as the student; time-out as defined herein; in-school suspension; detention; or a student-requested break in a different location in the room or in a separate room.
e. Exclusion Time-out – is a behavioral intervention in which the student is temporarily removed from the immediate learning activity. Time-out is appropriately used and is not deemed to be seclusion when:
1. The non-locking setting used for time-out is appropriately lighted, ventilated, and heated or cooled.
2. The duration of the time-out is reasonable in light of the purpose of the time-out, the age of the child and the capability of the child; however, each time-out should not exceed the equivalency of one minute per year of the child age. For example, a 6 year-old student should not exceed a six-minute time-out.
3. The student is reasonably monitored by an attending adult who is in reasonable physical proximity of the student and has sight of the student while in time-out.
4. The time-out space is free of objects that unreasonably expose the student or others to harm.
5. Students who are receiving special education services, the IEP team should be involved in making decisions concerning the use of behavior modification procedures such as time-out.
a. The use of physical restraint is prohibited in the school system and its educational programs except in those situations in which the student is an immediate danger to himself or others and the student is not responsive to reasonably implemented and less intensive behavioral interventions, such as verbal directives and other de- escalation techniques. Physical restraint as a form of discipline or punishment is prohibited.
b. All physical restraint must be immediately terminated when the student is deemed to no longer be an immediate danger to himself or others or if the student is observed to be in severe distress during the restraint. Any method of physical restraint in which physical pressure is applied to the student’s body in such a manner as to restrict the flow of air into the student’s lungs is prohibited in the school system and its educational programs.
c. The use of chemical restraint is prohibited in the school system and its educational programs.
d. The use of mechanical restraint is prohibited in the school system and its educational programs.
e. The use of seclusion is prohibited in the school system and its educational programs.
a. Each designated staff person who engages or participates in any incident of any permitted or prohibited restraint or seclusion of a student has a duty to promptly report the incident to the local school principal.
b. Each local school’s principal or his/her designee and each educational program that utilize restraint under this policy should provide staff with guidelines and procedural information regarding physical restraint and arrange for the appropriate training of those designated staff members that may be called upon to restrain a student. This training of designated staff members should be provided as a part of a program which addresses prevention and de-escalation techniques as well as positive behavioral intervention strategies. The training of designated staff members will be based on evidence-based techniques and strategies when possible. Designated staff members will be trained regarding their responsibility to promptly report each incident of physical restraint, whether initiated, continued or discontinued in compliance with this policy or not, and each incident of prohibited chemical and/or mechanical restraint or seclusion. Each local school’s principal or his/her designee or program coordinator shall be responsible for providing periodic reviews.
c. Each local school’s principal or his/her designee and each educational program that utilize restraint is expected to maintain written or electronic documentation on training provided at the local school regarding permissible physical restraint as well as prohibited physical, chemical or mechanical restraint or seclusion. The principal or designee should also maintain the list of participants in each training session. Records of such training will be made available to the Alabama Department of Education or any member of the public upon request.
d. Each local school’s principal or his/her designee and each educational program that utilize restraint is responsible for generating and maintaining incident and debriefing reports of the use of restraint or seclusion at the local school and for submitting monthly summary reports regarding such incidents to the school system’s Board of Education and to the Alabama Department of Education annually. Each local school principal or his/her designee or program’s coordinator is expected to monitor the use of physical restraint on an on-going basis to ensure fidelity of implementation. Following a restraint situation, the individuals involved will have a SWOT meeting to discuss the event. Follow-up training will also be provided following any situation in which policies and procedures are not followed.
e. Each local school’s principal or his/her designee and each educational program that utilize restraint shall endeavor to provide a debriefing session following each incident of permissible restraint, prohibited restraint and/or seclusion of a student. All school personnel involved in the incident and appropriate administrative staff will be expected to participate in a debriefing session for the purpose of planning to prevent or reduce the reoccurrence of the use of restraint. A student’s parent or legal guardian will be provided notification of this debriefing session and afforded the opportunity to attend or to request that the debriefing session be rescheduled. The debriefing session shall occur no later than five school days following the imposition of physical restraint or seclusion, unless the debriefing session is delayed, at the request of a student’s parent or legal guardian, so that the parent or legal guardian may attend.
f. Each local school’s principal or his/her designee and each educational program that utilize restraint will provide written notification to a student’s parent or legal guardian when physical restraint is used on a student within a reasonable time following the restraint.
g. Each local school’s principal or his/her designee and each educational program will provide written notification to a student’s parent or legal guardian when their child is restrained and/or removed from his/her school or program setting by emergency, medical, or law enforcement personnel within a reasonable time following the removal.
h. Each student’s parent or legal guardian will be provided information regarding the school or program’s policies governing the use of physical restraint. To effectuate this requirement, the school system’s website and student handbook/code of conduct will contain the following statement:
As a part of the policies and procedures of the school system, the use of physical restraint is prohibited in the system and its educational programs except in those situations in which the student is an immediate danger to himself or others and the student is not responsive to reasonably implemented and less intensive behavioral interventions such as verbal directives and other de-escalation techniques. Physical restraint is prohibited when used as a form of discipline or punishment. The use of other physical restraint, chemical restraint, mechanical restraint, or seclusion is prohibited in the school system and its educational programs.
The use of restraint may occur along with other emergency actions such as the school seeking assistance from law enforcement and/or emergency medical personnel which could result in a removal of the student by such personnel.
Significant violations of the law including assaults on students and staff will be reported to the police. As soon as possible after the restraint or removal of a student (and no longer than one school day following the occurrence), written notice will be provided to the parent or legal guardian.
a. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to interfere with the school system’s or school personnel’s authority to utilize time-out as defined herein or to utilize any other classroom management technique or approach, including a student's removal from the classroom, not specifically addressed under this policy.
b. Nothing in this policy modifies the rights of school personnel to use reasonable force as permitted under the Code of Alabama, 1975, §16-1-14 or modifies the rules and procedures governing discipline under the Code of Alabama, 1975, §16-28-12.
c. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to prohibit the school system or school personnel from taking reasonable actions to diffuse or break up a student fight or altercation.
d. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to prohibit the school system or school personnel from taking reasonable action to obtain possession of a weapon or other dangerous objects on a student or within the control of a student.
e. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to eliminate or restrict the ability of school personnel to use his or her discretion in the use of physical restraint as provided in this policy to protect students or others from imminent harm or bodily injury.
f. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to create a criminal offense or a private cause of action against any local board of education or program or its agents or employees.
g. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to interfere with the duties of law enforcement or emergency medical personnel or to interfere with the rights of the school system or school personnel from seeking assistance from law enforcement and/or emergency medical personnel.
h. Violation of this policy by school system personnel may be deemed to be a failure to perform duties in a satisfactory manner and may be deemed to provide grounds for disciplinary action, including dismissal, if appropriate under the circumstances.
Section 504 is part of a federal civil rights law known as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This law specifically prohibits discrimination against students with disabilities and guarantees them a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Discrimination, as defined in Section 504, is the failure to provide students with disabilities the same opportunity to benefit from education programs, services, or activities as provided to their non-disabled peers. Therefore, schools cannot exclude students with disabilities from facilities, programs, benefits, activities, or services that are provided to students without disabilities. Schools must make sure that all students receive equal access to educational opportunities.
A school-aged student is a disabled student under Section 504 for purposes of FAPE if the student:
1. Has a physical or mental impairment
The determination of whether a student has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity must be made on the basis on an individual inquiry. A physical or mental impairment may be any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.
2. That substantially limits
A physical or mental impairment substantially limits a major life activity for a student if the impairment substantially limits the student’s ability to perform a major life activity as compared to the student’s non-disabled age/grade peers. An impairment, however, need not prevent, or significantly or severely restrict, a student in performing a major life activity to be considered substantially limiting.
3. One of more major life activities
Major life activities include functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. Major life activities also include other general activities such as eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, bending, reading, concentrating, thinking, and communicating. In addition, major life activities include major bodily functions such as the functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
Who Can Refer a Student for a Section 504 Evaluation?
Any person can refer a student for evaluation under Section 504. Parents, guardians, and school staff should refer a student for evaluation if they know or suspect that, due to a disability, the student needs special education or related aids or services to participate in or benefit from a district’s education program.
What Should a District Do When it Receives a Section 504 Referral?
After receiving a Section 504 referral, a district should decide whether to evaluate the student and must notify the student’s parent or guardian of its decision.
What is an Evaluation Under Section 504?
Evaluations under Section 504 are individually designed. A Section 504 evaluation may be broad (including aptitude and achievement data, medical and psychological data, social and cultural information, and more) or narrow (medical data).
What Due Process Rights Do Parents and Guardians Have Under Section 504?
Section 504 gives parents and guardians the right to challenge district decisions regarding the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of their child. Under Section 504, a district must notify a student’s parent or guardian before it takes any action regarding the identification, evaluation, or placement of their child and provide the parent or guardian an opportunity to challenge the action if they disagree. “Any action” includes a decision not to evaluate a student and denial of placement. The minimum necessary due process rights include: prior notice of any action; a right to inspect records; an impartial hearing with a right to representation by counsel; and a review procedure.
Must Parents or Guardians Consent Prior to Initial Evaluations and Initial Placements Under Section 504?
Yes. Under Section 504, a district must obtain parent or guardian consent in two circumstances: before a child’s initial evaluation (the first time a child is evaluated by any district) and before a child’s initial placement (the first time a child is placed on a Section 504 Plan in any district). If a parent or guardian refuses consent to either initial evaluation or initial placement, a district may, but is not required to, initiate a Section 504 due process hearing to override the refusal to consent. A district must notify a parent or guardian, but need not obtain consent, before it re-evaluates or significantly changes a student’s placement.
What is a Section 504 Plan?
A Section 504 plan is a written plan that describes the educational and related aids and services that a district determines a disabled student needs to receive a free appropriate public education. The content of a Section 504 plan is fluid and may change within a school year or between school years as a student’s needs and services change.
What is a Section 504 Team?
A Section 504 team makes decisions regarding the evaluation and placement of students under Section 504. For example, a Section 504 team determines the scope of Section 504 evaluations, decides which students are disabled under Section 504, develops Section 504 plans, and makes “manifestation determinations” for purposes of disciplinary exclusion from school.
Who Should Be on a Section 504 Team?
The membership of a Section 504 team will vary depending upon the needs of each student. The composition of a Section 504 team is fluid and may change within a school year or between school years as a student’s needs and services change. A Section 504 team must include persons who are knowledgeable about the student, the meaning of the student’s current evaluation data, and placement options.
How is Section 504 Enforced?
The US Department of Education enforces Section 504 through the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). OCR investigates individual complaints of disability discrimination, including complaints that a district is denying a disabled student a free appropriate public education. OCR’s focus is on the process a district follows to identify, evaluate, and provide an educational placement to a disabled student, and to provide procedural due process to the student’s parent or guardian. Except in extraordinary circumstances, OCR will not review the result of individual placement and other educational decisions, as long as a district complies with Section 504’s procedural requirements regarding identification, evaluation, placement, and due process. The proper forum for pure educational disputes, in which a district has followed the correct process to make an educational decision, but the parents or guardian disagree with the result of the decision, is a Section 504 due process hearing.
There’s no single cause for suicide. Suicide most often occurs when
stressors exceed current coping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition. Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, and it is often undiagnosed or untreated. Conditions like depression, anxiety and substance problems, especially when unaddressed, increase risk for suicide. Yet it’s important to note that most people who actively manage their mental health conditions lead fulfilling lives.
Something to look out for when concerned that a person may be suicidal is a change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. This is of sharpest concern if the new or changed behavior is related to a painful event, loss, or change. Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do:
talk | If a person talks about:
Being a burden to others
Experiencing unbearable pain
Having no reason to live
behavior | Specific things to look out for include:
Increased use of alcohol or drugs
Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means
Withdrawing from activities
Isolating from family and friends
Sleeping too much or too little
Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
Giving away prized possessions
mood | People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:
Loss of interest
Characteristics or conditions that increase the chance that a person may try to take their life:
- Mental health conditions
- Bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder
- Borderline or antisocial personality disorder
- Conduct disorder
- Psychotic disorders, or psychotic symptoms in the context of any disorder
- Anxiety disorders
- Substance abuse disorders
- Serious or chronic health condition and/or pain
- Stressful life events which may include a death, divorce, or job loss
- Prolonged stress factors which may include harassment, bullying, relationship problems, and unemployment
- Access to lethal means including firearms and drugs
- Exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of suicide
- Previous suicide attempts
- Family history of suicide attempts
Helping A Suicidal Person
Get professional help. Do everything in your power to get a suicidal person the help he or she needs. Call a crisis line for advice and referrals. Encourage the person to see a mental health professional, help locate a treatment facility, or take them to a doctor's appointment.
Follow-up on treatment.If the doctor prescribes medication, make sure your friend or loved one takes it as directed. Be aware of possible side effects and be sure to notify the physician if the person seems to be getting worse. It often takes time and persistence to find the medication or therapy that’s right for a particular person.
Be proactive. Those contemplating suicide often don't believe they can be helped, so you may have to be more proactive at offering assistance. Saying, “Call me if you need anything” is too vague. Don’t wait for the person to call you or even to return your calls. Drop by, call again, invite the person out.
Encourage positive lifestyle changes.A healthy diet, plenty of sleep, and getting out in the sun or into nature for at least 30 minutes each day. Exercise is also extremely important as it releases endorphins, relieves stress, and promotes emotional well-being.
Make a safety plan. Help the person develop a set of steps he or she promises to follow during a suicidal crisis. It should identify any triggers that may lead to a suicidal crisis, such as an anniversary of a loss, alcohol, or stress from relationships. Also include contact numbers for the person's doctor or therapist, as well as friends and family members who will help in an emergency.
Remove potential means of suicide. Items such as pills, knives, razors, or firearms must be removed. If the person is likely to take an overdose, keep medications locked away or give out only as the person needs them.
Continue your support over the long haul. Even after the immediate suicidal crisis has passed, stay in touch with the person, periodically checking in or dropping by. Your support is vital to ensure your friend or loved one remains on the recovery track.