When the Unthinkable Happens. Suicide Prevention and Postvention for Schools. John E. Landers, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist [email protected] Content of Presentation. Laws, Rules, Standards, and Expectations Scope of the Concern Myths and Stigma Best Practice in Prevention
When the Unthinkable Happens
Suicide Prevention and Postvention for Schools
John E. Landers, Ph.D.
Laws, Rules, Standards, and Expectations
33-512.Governance of schools. The board of trustees of each school district shall have the following powers and duties:
(4) To protect the morals and health of the pupils;
33-512B.Suicidal tendencies -- Duty to warn. (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 33-512(4), Idaho Code, neither a teacher nor a school district shall have a duty to warn of the suicidal tendencies of a student absent the teacher’s knowledge of direct evidence of such suicidal tendencies.
(2) "Direct evidence" means evidence which directly proves a fact without inference and which in itself, if true, conclusively establishes that fact. Direct evidence would include unequivocal and unambiguous oral or written statements by a student which would not cause a reasonable teacher to speculate regarding the existence of the fact in question; it would not include equivocal or ambiguous oral or written statements by a student which would cause a reasonable teacher to speculate regarding the existence of the fact in question.
(3) The existence of the teacher’s knowledge of the direct evidence referred to in subsections (1) and (2) of this section shall be determined by the court as a matter of law.
This statute was enacted in 1996 as a result of the Idaho Supreme Court’s decision in Brooks v. Logan, 132 Idaho 484, 903 P.2d 73 (1005) (Brooks I).
IDAPA 08.02.03.160 – SAFE ENVIRONMENT AND DISCIPLINE
IDAHO CONTENT STANDARDSHEALTH EDUCATION(Health Education Standards Approved by Legislature January 2010 for Fall 2010 School District Adoption)
Mental, Emotional & Social Health (Grades 6-12)
Mental, emotional and social wellbeing is a foundation for building good health and includes a sense of security, identity, belonging, purpose and competence in order to strive toward a healthy and productive life. Knowledge and skills may include emotional intelligence, suicide prevention, stress management, communication skills, conflict resolution, and mental illness.
Scope of the Concern
Myths and Stigma
“Suicide is a whispered word, inappropriate for polite company. Family and friends often pretend they do not hear the word's dread sound even when it is uttered. For suicide is a taboo subject that stigmatizes not only the victim but the survivors as well.”
- Earl A. Grollman - Author of Suicide
1.Talking about suicide might cause a person to act
2. A person who threatens suicide won’t really follow through
3. Only “crazy” people kill themselves
4. No one I know would do that
5. They’re just trying to get attention
6. Suicide is a city problem, not in the country or a small town
Best Practice in Prevention
Best Practice in Postvention
“The single best predictor of how students will respond to a frightening event is how the adults around them are reacting. Being able to work through the effects of a suicidal death with caring, supportive adults will decrease the contagion. Any kind of death is hard for adolescents, but it is especially hard if adult guidance and support is withheld.”
Ruof, S.R. & Harris, J.M. (1988). Suicide contagion: Guilt and modeling. A series on suicide prevention. NASP Communique, 16(7), 8.
Training can alleviate these concerns!
What will you do now?