Noting that suicides are more frequent than murders in the United States, the surgeon general has devised a national suicide-prevention strategy that calls on all sectors of society–including K-12 school districts–to work together to reduce the number of suicides.

In a report released May 2, Surgeon General David Satcher emphasizes the need for greater awareness of the problem, earlier intervention, and better support to help those who are at risk of committing suicide. Suicide takes more than 30,000 lives a year, making it the nation’s eighth-leading cause of death.

The report, titled “National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives for Action,” calls on schools to make sure teachers are better trained to recognize the warning signs and to implement research-based suicide prevention programs. Federal statistics show that teens account for about 9 percent of suicides in the United States.

“Only recently have the knowledge and tools become available to approach suicide as a preventable problem with realistic opportunities to save many lives,” Dr. Satcher said in announcing the report. “The public-health approach laid out in this national strategy represents a rational and organized way to marshal prevention efforts and ensure that they are effective.”