Kids can help stop suicides and school shootings by using anonymous reporting systems to report concerning behavior among their peers.
A new study published in the American Academy of Pediatrics journal looked at a tip line in North Carolina called the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System (SS-ARS).
The study found that from 2019 to 2023, more than 18,000 tips were submitted. Out of those tips, the researchers found that the anonymous reporting system made 1,039 confirmed mental health interventions, prevented 109 imminent suicide crises, stopped 38 school violence incidents (even recovering weapons on school grounds), and thwarted 6 planned school attacks.
Researchers also found that almost 10% of the tips received were about firearms, highlighting that they are the primary cause of death among children and teens.
“The urgency of firearm-related tips highlights the need to educate families on firearm violence prevention and ensure support and response protocols for school systems,” the study reads.
A 2023 study from the American Academy of Pediatrics revealed that child gun deaths in the United States reached a record high. The study analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's mortality database and found that in 2021, the latest year for available data, 4,752 children died from gun-related injuries, up from 4,368 in 2020 and 3,390 in 2019.
The study says SS-ARS is in 23 states, helping over 5 million students in grades 6 through 12 each year. More than 50% of K-12 schools in the U.S. use it to reduce firearm injuries.