Suicide Prevention in Schools
Preventing youth suicide is an issue that naturally garners support from everyone including parents, policy makers and youth directly and indirectly affected. Schools can play a positive role in suicide prevention because they offer consistent, direct contact time with large populations of young people. There are other important reasons why schools should be involved in suicide prevention:
1. Maintaining safe and caring school environments is an essential part of schools’ overall mission.
All school staff have a role in creating school environments where
students feel safe and cared for by adults around them. Promoting positive mental health and suicide prevention efforts are consistent with other efforts and activities aimed at promoting student safety and creating caring environments. Many programs and activities designed to prevent violence, bullying, and substance abuse also reduce suicide risk and promote healthy, caring relationships and resilience.
2. Students’ mental health can affect their academic performance.
Mental health problems can interfere with the ability to learn and can affect academic performance. According to the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey:
3. A student suicide can significantly impact other students and the community overall.
Youth may be deeply affected when a suicide occurs and can be susceptible to suicide contagion (copycat effect).
4. Knowing what to do following a suicide (postvention) is
essential to supporting other students’ coping and preventing similar tragedies.
ACT on FACTS
This online training is offered at no cost through the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide. The training, which focuses on the competent school community model, helps educators and school staff to understand their role for suicide prevention and how important it is to recognize their potential role as “Trusted Adults”.
The training embraces school culture and presents real-life scenarios for youth suicide prevention methods using the Competent School Community Model. The training specifically addresses elevated at-risk populations: LGBT students, bullying/bullied students, gifted students, and those students being reintegrated into the school environment following a suicide attempt. Survivors of suicide loss shared their personal stories, while mental health experts from the field of suicide prevention gave detailed accounts regarding at-risk populations, warning signs, and risk factors.
Take ACT on FACTS now!
SAMHSA Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools
Assists high schools and school districts in designing and implementing strategies to prevent suicide and promote behavioral health. Includes tools to implement a multi-faceted suicide prevention program that responds to the needs and cultures of students.