A school community knowledgeable about suicide prevention begins with each and every individual who is a part of that community. The reluctance of youth to seek out helpful adults is considered to be a risk factor; however, research has shown that contact with helpful adults may be considered a protective factor for many vulnerable young people.
Teachers can also play an active role in suicide prevention by fostering the emotional well-being of all students, not just those already at high risk. Teachers are well positioned to promote a feeling of connectedness and belonging in the school community.
For School Mental Health Staff
As a school mental health provider, you have an important role to play. You are in a key position to:
- Observe students’ behavior and act when you suspect that a student may be at risk of self-harm
- Provide needed expertise, support, and information to teachers, other school staff, students, and parents who may notice that one of their students, peers, or children is having difficulties but may not know what to do about it
- Determine the next steps to take regarding a student’s safety and treatment
After a Suicide of a Student
Suicide in a school community is tremendously sad, often unexpected, and can leave a school with many uncertainties about what to do next. Faced with students struggling to cope and a community struggling to respond, schools need reliable information, practical tools, and pragmatic guidance. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), two of the nation’s leading suicide prevention organizations, have collaborated to produce this toolkit to assist schools in the aftermath of a suicide (or other death) in the school community.
Learn more about the trainings we provide at schools through our Teens for Life Program.