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Youth Suicide Prevention School-Based Guide

NCJ Number
Katherine J. Lazear; Stephen Roggenbaum; Karen Blase
Date Published
169 pages
This guide identifies and defines the elements of a comprehensive, school-based suicide prevention program.
Scientific research is reviewed to provide support for the effectiveness of these elements in reducing the incidence of suicide and suicidal behavior. In order to facilitate an evaluation of the effectiveness of a school-based suicide prevention program, checklists and self-assessment instruments are provided for schools. Suggestions are offered to school administrators and their partners for adding elements that can make programs more comprehensive and/or replace unproven with proven strategies based on reliable research. The development of this guide stems from research that shows suicide accounts for 12 percent of all adolescent deaths, ranking third as a cause of death in adolescents. In addition, an estimated 100-200 non-fatal youth suicide attempts occur for each youth who dies by suicide. Ninety percent of teens who die by suicide have a mental health diagnosis, usually depression, substance abuse, or both. This guide contains nine "Issue Briefs" on the features of a school-based program in youth suicide prevention. Topics in these briefs include dissemination in schools on youth suicide prevention; school climate; risk and protective factors as well as warning signs; administrative issues; and suicide prevention guidelines. A three-part brief on intervention strategies focuses on establishing a community response, crisis intervention and crisis response teams, and responding to a student crisis. A two-part brief considers steps in preparing for and responding to a death by suicide and working with the media in the event of such a death. Two issue briefs emphasize family partnerships and working with culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Sample suicide prevention programs, resources and links, and national suicide-related statistics