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.
Free School-Based Training
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!
In addition to the Allegany County Suicide Prevention Coalition assortment of evidence-based suicide prevention, intervention and postvention training, Lifelines: A Suicide Prevention Program is a trilogy of curriculum that education students and school faculty about the the facts of suicide. Plan your school's on-site professional development program during your upcoming Staff Development Day, after school teacher meeting, or through your Parent-Teacher Organization.
Part 1- Lifelines: A Suicide Prevention Program
This first part of the Lifelines Trilogy educates students on the facts about suicide and students' role in suicide prevention. It provides information on where to find suicide prevention resources in the school and community. Training materials are included for faculty and staff that provide accurate and practical information on identifying and referring students who might be at risk for suicide. Lifelines: A Suicide Prevention Program also includes a presentation for parents that answers questions about youth suicide and prevention, and it involves them in the school’s suicide prevention activities.
Designed for implementation in middle schools and high schools, it targets the whole school community by providing suicide awareness resources for administrators, faculty and staff, parents, and students. It fits easily into health class programming and lesson plans.
Part 2- Lifelines Intervention: Helping students at Risk for Suicide
The second installment in the Lifelines Trilogy provides information on how to be prepared to address and respond to threats or signs of suicide and intervene - before it's too late. Lifelines Intervention also provides clear guidance on how best to involve parents and guardians as partners and explains how to gather collateral information about a student's risk for suicide and address specific topics. Other topics addressed include the challenges presented by bullied students, members of sexual minorities, and students in gifted or special education classes.
Part 3- Lifelines Postvention: Responding to Suicide and Other Traumatic Death
The third installment of the Lifelines Trilogy is Lifelines Postvention: Responding to Suicide and Other Traumatic Death. This comprehensive, whole-school best-practices manual is designed for middle and high school communities. This unique program educates everyone in the school community on how to successfully address and respond to not only suicide, but any type of traumatic death that profoundly affects the school population.
With in-depth references and detailed plans, this resource outlines a response strategy that reflects the challenges schools face in dealing with a death within the school community. Also included are references and support materials that allow school leaders to recognize and reduce the risk of suicide contagion (or "copycat") behavior within the school.
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.
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