PENNSYLVANIA: Yearbook Memorials for Suicide Victims a Delicate Subject in Valley

April 19, 2019
News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News
State:  Pennsylvania

The Daily Item

School districts in Pennsylvania’s Central Susquehanna Valley are grappling with how to safely memorialize students who die by suicide. Some schools include suicide deaths in yearbook memorial pages, while others do not. For example, the Line Mountain School Board policy prohibits memorials for students who die by suicide but allows memorials for those who die by other causes. Experts recommend that schools treat all student deaths the same way, but take care not to glamorize suicide, which could encourage others to self-harm. Educating students about suicide and mental health issues, and having caring conversations with those who are struggling, can help ensure those who need help receive it. "There is a big difference between glorifying suicide and not talking about it,” said Nicole Quinlan, a pediatric psychologist at Geisinger Medical Center. “We want people to talk about it.”

Spark Extra! Check out After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools.

Populations:  Youth
Settings:  Schools
Strategies:  Postvention