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Instructional Tools & Materials:

Depression & Suicide The following are instructional tools, resources, and example lesson plans of how to effectively teach students about depression and suicide while encouraging students to recognize that they are in a safe space and how to get help for themselves and their friends.


TeenHealthFX Related Questions:

I have been thinking about suicide. How do I get help?

I just want to know how to make everything better.

What can be side effects of medication?

Depression maybe?


TeenHealthFX Hot Topics:

Depression Screenings for Teens

Depression in Teens


Resource of the Month


Meditation & Sleep


National Suicide Prevention Hotline


New Jersey Mental Health Resources


National Mental Health Resources


Multi Day Lesson

Day 1: Introduction, Warning Signs

Day 2: Resources available, how to get help

Day 3: How to be Mentally Healthy? Write a letter to a friend who needs help or create PSA



Students will be able to differentiate between the different kinds of depression

Students will be able to discuss the various resources and treatment options available

Students will able to discuss the risks and warning signs of suicide


Day 1: Introduction to Depression & Suicide

Do Now: What are the different kinds of depression?   


Students will discuss what they believe the different kinds of depression are.             

*This can be done as a class discussion, post on google classroom, or live on a zoom call.

Students will begin to brainstorm what depression is:

Have students consider the different kinds in their explanations

  • What makes depression severe? What makes it mild?

  • Discuss the different symptoms and warning signs people may experience?

    • Are they all the same?

    • Are there specific ones only certain people can experience? Why or why not?

    • What do you think are warning signs?

    • Do all people experience all the same symptoms?

  • Students can create a chart (example listed below or graphic organizer)




Warning Signs

Treatment Options

Major Depression




Dysthymia (Chronic) Depression




Postpartum Depression




Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)




Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD)





 **Alternative options:

  • Small group project: Assign each group a type of depression to research and create a PowerPoint, Google Slide, or other type of presentation.
  • Create a pamphlet explaining all there is to know about each type of depression and treatment options
  • Create a PSA (public service announcement) on a specific disorder and how to get help


Day 2: Treatment Options & Resources Available

Picking up from the day prior, have students pick up where they left off:


“Do Now:” What are some treatment options & resources you found in your research

Create a running list of all the resources the students found through a discussion or posted question/responses:

  • Create a google doc 
  • Easel paper
  • Note page/Memo pad on student’s technology device

Discuss briefly discuss treatment options with students

Brainstorm all the ways they can get help in school: Tell a teacher, talk to school counselor or student assistance counselor, a school nurse, how to talk to your parent/guardian.

Offer a open and safe conversation about suicide – make sure the students feel safe and secure in discussing with you, ensure them that you are there to help and can help get them help if they should need it.


Day 3: How to be Mentally Healthy? Write a letter to a friend who needs help or create PSA




Do Now”:  What are hobbies or things you do to practice good “mental health”


Students will brainstorm all the healthy ways to practice beneficial mental health tips. 

              *This can be done as a class discussion, on-line blog post, or in small groups

Students will discuss all treatment options, tips, and resources available for their friends and family.

Students will create a PSA (public service announcement) on how to use effective mental health tips to stay happy and healthy AND/OR students can answer a letter prompt and respond as an advice column writer (example below).


              Dear Mental Health Expert,

                             My friend recently told me that he/she is having a really hard time and is considering hurting themselves. How can I help them? Are there any helpful tips to help him/her get through this hard time?



              A concerned friend


Additional resources, videos, and potential lesson plans can be found here .


The TeenHealthFX Teacher Pages correlate with the following National Health Education Standards:

1. Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health. 2. Students will analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology and other factors on health behaviors. 3. Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid information, products, and services to enhance health. 4. Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks. 5. Students will demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health. 6. Students will demonstrate the ability to use goal-setting skills to enhance health. 7. Students will demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks. 8. Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal, family, and community health. You can also access your state’s school health policies.

These materials were developed by TeenHealthFX.com, a program of the Adolescent and Young Adult Center for Health at Goreyb Children’s Hospital.