Adolescent Suicide Prevention

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association (MEMSPA), and Michigan Virtual have partnered to offer a series of five professional development courses about suicide prevention for adolescents.

These free courses will provide school administration and staff with the tools to identify the signs of students who are at risk of suicidal ideation, suicidal gestures, or completed suicide, and offer action steps to prevent and address these serious concerns.

The facts

Suicide is the second-highest leading cause of death in the United States for adolescents (CDC, 2019). A recent poll found:


of high school students experienced stress or anxiety this past year


of high school students feel anxious about returning to school or campus


of high school students knew of someone with suicidal thoughts

Adolescent Suicide Prevention Series

Developed with subject matter experts from the Yale School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, the Adolescent Suicide Prevention Series features four asynchronous courses. Each professional development course is provided at no cost and is SCECH-bearing.

Each course includes a School Administrator’s Guide to help administrators facilitate learning and discussion with their school and district staff.

School leadership, teaching and support staff, administrative staff, and other members of school communities working with adolescents in Grades 5 and up are encouraged to enroll in one or all four of these courses.

Adolescent Suicide Prevention: Intervention & School Policies

Free | 4 SCECHs

Strategize with school leaders and stakeholders to review your school’s policies on suicide prevention and create a Suicide Action Plan.

It is becoming an alarming reality that the number of deaths by suicide and attempted suicides is on the rise among teens and young people. This practical course provides background information and insight on how to recognize signs and risk factors of mental and/or emotional distress with the intent to prevent and handle suicide-related crises. You will come to recognize your role as an educator and the responsibility schools hold to address students’ safety and wellbeing as well as hear from experts in the field about how to support teens who may be at-risk.

In this course, you will:

  • Review information about teen suicide, including current data on suicide risk and incidence,
  • Recognize the symptoms of distress in teenagers and the signs that students might be at risk for suicide,
  • Describe practical tips for addressing teen suicide in schools, and
  • Identify school-based resources and strategies to prevent suicide and promote compassion and resilience.
Adolescent Suicide Prevention: Best Practices - A Team Approach
Course 2 of our Teen Suicide series provides an overview of a “best practices” approach and information on referral, screening, and counseling. The course will be useful to all educators, and includes specific guidance for school counselors.
Course 2 also provides recommendations for what to do in the aftermath of a suicidal event.
Adolescent Suicide Prevention: Student Ambassadors

Coming soon

Adolescent Suicide Prevention: Information for the General Public

Coming soon

Course 5: Curated Resources
Suicide Prevention and Intervention Curated Resources

Coming soon

Disclaimer: The Adolescent Suicide Prevention Series should be completed in partnership with school leadership and school-based mental health supports. These courses are NOT intended to guide school staff in the individual level identification, diagnosis, or as clinical guidance for any mental health condition, emotional distress, or behavioral disturbance. Please refer specific, individual, or school-level questions to your school mental health support team. 

About this partnership

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association, and Michigan Virtual have partnered to bring this Adolescent Suicide Series of four courses focused on educators, community members, and students free of charge. The partners recognize the importance of children’s mental health and well-being and together are working to prevent adolescent suicide in Michigan.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is the largest health insurer in Michigan, serving 4.5 million people, and they recently launched the Building Healthy Communities Program to improve the health of children by preventing chronic diseases, reducing obesity, and improving mental health and well-being.

Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association (MEMSPA) is a community of principals dedicated to advocating, leading, and learning.

Michigan Virtual is a nonprofit 501(c) (3) corporation focused on advancing K-12 education through digitallearning, research, innovation, policy, and partnerships.

Limited Course Capacity

We’re sorry to inform you that we have reached capacity for several of our Semester 1 and Trimester 1 courses. You’ll notice when attempting to enroll students in our Student Learning Portal that some courses are unavailable. While we are no longer accepting new enrollments for these courses at this time, many courses continue to remain open for enrollment.

With many students across the state 100% remote, demand for our online courses is greater than ever before. Because every course we offer is taught by a Michigan-certified teacher, this high volume of enrollments has created capacity issues for our teachers who provide each and every student with individual feedback.

While the Michigan Virtual team anticipated and planned for significant increases in student enrollments this Fall, the increased demand we’ve experienced has been unprecedented. As a result, we are taking steps to hire even more part-and full-time teachers to support larger numbers of student enrollments for Semester 2 as well as for Trimester 2 and 3. 

For schools that still need online learning options this year, please fill out the form at the bottom of our virtual pathways page to meet with someone to discuss other solutions. While some of our teacher-led courses are full, we may still have the capacity to help you in upcoming terms or can discuss timing to implement a whole-school or collaborative program in which local teachers from your school/district use our online course content to teach students. We also have free course content and resources available for you to use.

We know this is an incredibly stressful time for all, and we’re sorry if the courses you’re looking for are unavailable. We never want to turn away a student who wants to learn from us. Our top concern, however, is student success, and we have a policy to not take on additional enrollments if we cannot guarantee that all students will have a quality online learning experience. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate the unusually high volume of enrollments we are receiving.