In 2018, 48,000 deaths by suicide were reported out of 1.4 million attempts in the United States. Those most at risk are Native Americans, Veterans, people living in predominantly rural areas, and LBGTQ+ Youth. Of these at-risk demographics men are 3.7% more likely to commit suicide than women. In the state of Nebraska alone suicide occurs in 12.5 per 100,000 people, keeping in line with the national average of that year. Within the last year, the number of staff reporting alarming phone calls from distressed patrons has grown. The pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues among the population, which lends to the growing number of individuals reaching out for help. For this reason, a comprehensive suicide prevention crisis policy was formulated. Though privacy is a tenant of librarianship, and librarians are not mandated reporters; Nebraska State Law requires educators K-12 to submit to mandatory Suicide Prevention as part of their Continued Education Criteria. Though Higher Education is not included in this law, it serves our library and our community to utilize the same tools and methods as all Educators. The goal of this policy is not to train the staff to become crisis managers, but to instill empathy, confidence, and skill in the event of an emergency.
Hand, Marina and Rogers, Lacey, "A Call for Help: Tailored Training for Suicide Prevention in Libraries" (2023). Criss Library Faculty Proceedings & Presentations. 128.