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MAKING EDUCATORS PARTNERS IN SUICIDE PREVENTION. LIFELINES : A School-Based Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative John Kalafat, Ph.D Maureen M. Underwood, LCSW. Educational Objectives. Review benefits Correct myths Present accurate data Outline roles Discuss interaction with students

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Making educators partners in suicide prevention

MAKING EDUCATORS PARTNERS IN SUICIDE PREVENTION

LIFELINES: A School-Based YouthSuicide Prevention Initiative

John Kalafat, Ph.D

Maureen M. Underwood, LCSW


Educational objectives
Educational Objectives

  • Review benefits

  • Correct myths

  • Present accurate data

  • Outline roles

  • Discuss interaction with students

  • Provide additional resources


Every
EVERY…

  • EVERY Year

    - there are approximately 10 youth suicides

    for every 100,000 youth

  • EVERY Day

    - there are approximately 11 youth suicides

  • EVERY 2 Hours and 11 Minutes

    - a person under the age of 25 completes suicide


Why suicide prevention is important
Why Suicide Preventionis Important

  • Third leading cause of death for teens

  • Second leading cause of death in colleges

  • For every completion, there are between 50-200 attempts

  • CDC Youth Risk Survey: 8.5% grades 9-12 reported attempt in past year

  • 25% high school students report suicide ideation

  • Attempt rate increasing for 10-14 year olds

  • Same risk and protective factors for suicide as other problem behaviors such as drugs, violence, risky sexual activities


Making educators partners in suicide prevention

Why Educator Training

is Important:

According to the Carnegie Task Force on Education:

School systems are not responsible for meeting every need of their students,but when the need directly affects learning,

the school must meet the challenge.


Competent school community

THE CONTEXT FOR PREVENTION

“Competent School Community”

  • All members of the school community areconcerned about the welfare of each other

  • They know how to obtainhelp for those who need it


Your school s first official step

POLICIES & PROCEDURES

Your School’sFirst Official Step:

  • Provide the guidelines for crisis response ofsupport, control & structure

  • Demonstrate administrative commitmentand support

  • Outline a prepared andplanned response


Staff responsibility
Staff Responsibility

  • Understand the importance of your critical but limited role in the identification of students at-risk for suicide

  • Familiarize yourself with school policies and procedures that address this issue

  • Learn information that facilitates identification of at-risk students

  • Listen to students, verbally and nonverbally, for warning signs

  • Identify those students who may be at elevated risk based on that identification

  • Refer those students to appropriate resources


Your role simplified
Your Role Simplified:

  • Learningsigns of risk in students

  • Identifyingat-risk students

  • Referringto appropriate resources


Consider zero tolerance for suicide
Consider “Zero Tolerance”for Suicide

  • Demonstrates school’s commitment to the welfare of all its students

  • Sends message that personal violence is as much a concern as other-directed violence

  • Reinforces fact that suicide is taken seriously

  • Reminds school community that resources are available for at-risk students


Role of parents
Role of Parents

  • Understand school’s policies and procedures

  • Recognize signs of trouble in their children

  • Know what to do and where to go for resources

  • Understand how to respond to other at-risk youth


Role of students
Role of Students

  • Awareness of warning signs

  • Strategies for getting help personally

  • Knowledge of ways to help peers

  • Awareness of school and community resources

  • Identification of ‘caring’ adults



Questions to consider

Always

Never

Questions to Consider:

1. I think suicide is a rational choice.

sometimes

---------------------------------------------


Questions to consider1
Questions to Consider:

2. I think suicide should be prevented no matter what.

sometimes

---------------------------------------------

Always

Never


Questions to consider2
Questions to Consider:

3. Because it can be so hard to talk about, I think it is important to respect a student’s confidences about suicide.

sometimes

---------------------------------------------

Always

Never


Questions to consider3
Questions to Consider:

I would do everything I could

to prevent my teenager from

dating someone who hadattempted suicide.

-----------------------------------------------

I would respectmy child’s choice.


Talking about suicide
Talking About Suicide

On a 1 to 10 scale, rank how comfortable you are talking about suicide.

----------------------+-----------------------

1

5

10

Very Uncomfortable

Very Comfortable


Suicide myths facts

True

False

True

False

Suicide Myths & Facts

1. If questioned, youth will admit suicidal thoughts or behaviors to parents.


Suicide myths facts1

True

False

True

False

Suicide Myths & Facts

2. It is inaccurate and sexist to suggest that there is a difference in suicidal behavior between boys and girls.


Suicide myths facts2

True

False

True

False

Suicide Myths & Facts

3. People who talk about suicide don’t complete suicide - they are just seeking attention.


Suicide myths facts3

True

False

True

False

Suicide Myths & Facts

4. Talking about suicide can plant the idea in the minds of at-risk youth.


Suicide myths facts4

True

False

True

False

Suicide Myths & Facts

5. The only one who can really help a suicidal student is a counselor or mental health professional.


Suicide myths facts5

True

False

True

False

Suicide Myths & Facts

6. Once a youth is suicidal, he / she is suicidal forever.


Defining the problem

SUICIDE

is an attempt to solve a problem

of intense emotional pain

with impaired problem-solving skills

Defining the Problem

ATTEMPTED SUICIDE

is a potentially self-injurious act

committed with at least some intent

to die as a result of the act


Characteristics of suicide
Characteristics of Suicide

1. Alternative to problem perceived as unsolvable by any other means

2. Crisis thinking colors problem solving

3. Person is often ambivalent

4. Suicidal solution has an irrational component

5. Suicide is a form of communication


Risk factors warning signs
Risk Factors / Warning Signs

Red -Warning Signs

Yellow -Risk Factors

Green -Protective Factors


Risk factors for youth suicide

Personality

Factors

Demographic

Clinical

Accessto Means

Family

‘Stressors’

Risk Factors for Youth Suicide


Risk factors
Risk Factors

DEMOGRAPHIC

  • Age

  • Sex

  • Race

  • Sexual Orientation

    CLINICAL

  • Psychiatric diagnosis

  • Drug / alcohol use

  • Previous attempt


Risk factors1
Risk Factors

FAMILY

  • History of suicide

    EXPOSURE

  • To suicide (personally or in media)

  • Death of peer under any circumstance

    RECENT, SEVERE STRESSORS

  • Loss

  • Trouble

  • Change – transition


Risk factors for youth suicide1

Personality

Factors

Demographic

Clinical

Accessto Means

Family

‘Stressors’

Risk Factors for Youth Suicide

WARNING!!!!


Warning signs
Warning Signs

F

eelings

A

ctions

C

hanges

T

hreats

S

ituations


Making it real

DEALING WITH AT-RISK STUDENTS

Making it Real…

  • BRAD

  • James

  • Elena

  • Conner



Students at higher risk
Students at Higher Risk

  • Threatening suicide

  • Looking for access to means

  • Talking or writing about death, dying, suicide

  • Previous attempt seriousenough to requirehospitalization


Making it real1

DEALING WITH AT-RISK STUDENTS

Making it Real…

  • Brad

  • JAMES

  • Elena

  • Conner



Risk factors vs protective factors
Risk Factors vs.Protective Factors


Protective factors
Protective Factors

  • Contact with a caring adult

  • Sense of connection orparticipation in school

  • Positive self-esteem andcoping skills

  • Access to and care formental / physical / substancedisorders


Fostering protective factors
Fostering Protective Factors

  • Teach students it is okay to ask for help

  • Give students permission to talk abouttraumatic events like suicide

  • Help students identify trusted adults

  • Encourage participation inschool & community activities

  • Acknowledge student efforts

  • Be a good listener, as often as you can



Dealing with at risk students
Dealing with At-Risk Students

  • Pay attention to who your students are, not justhow they perform academically

    • Notice appearance

    • Observe social skills / relationships

    • Monitor behavior changes


Making it real3

DEALING WITH AT-RISK STUDENTS

Making it Real…

  • Brad

  • James

  • ELENA

  • Conner



Talking with at risk students
Talking with At-Risk Students

  • LISTEN

    • Acknowledge feelings in student’s terms

    • Clarify

    • Summarize

    • Validate

  • Know Your Limits

    • To ask about suicide directly?

  • Know Your Resources

  • Act

  • Follow-up


Making it real4

DEALING WITH AT-RISK STUDENTS

Making it Real…

  • Brad

  • James

  • Elena

  • CONNER



So here s your homework
So Here’s Your Homework:

1. Review school policy & procedures

2. Examine personal attitudesand values

3. Consider data

4. Review curriculum for reminders and for ways in which you can foster protective factors (resiliency)

5. Remember your role:

- Identify

- Listen

- Refer


Revisit this question
Revisit This Question:

On a 1 to 10 scale, rank how comfortable you are talking about suicide, now?

----------------------+-----------------------

1

5

10

Very Uncomfortable

Very Comfortable



Web resources
Web Resources

  • www.sptsnj.orgSociety for the Prevention of Teen SuicideSponsor of this program focuses on resources for the competent school community

  • www.sprc.orgSuicide Prevention Resource CenterNational Resource

  • www.afsp.orgAmerican Foundation for Suicide PreventionPrinted materials & resources

  • www.suicidology.orgAmerican Association of SuicidologyData, resources, links

  • http://theguide.fmhi.usf.edu/University of Southern FloridaDownloadable guide for a school suicide prevention program


Making educators partners in suicide prevention1

MAKING EDUCATORS PARTNERS IN SUICIDE PREVENTION

LIFELINES: A School-Based YouthSuicide Prevention Initiative

John Kalafat, Ph.D

Maureen M. Underwood, LCSW