What Educators Need to Know About Suicide: Contagion, Complicated Grief, and Supportive Conversations

July 13, 2018
News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

Education Week

Prevention experts are helping to empower educators to address suicide in schools. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has developed resources to help school staff talk about suicide and mental health issues with students. They recommend that teachers help foster an open dialogue about these topics but avoid details that could increase risk, such as suicide methods. This is especially important following the suicide death of a school community member, or when suicide is prominent in popular media. Teachers can help support students who have been affected by suicide or mental health issues, and encourage those who are struggling to reach out for help. Every member of the school community, including educators, can play an important role in recognizing and responding to suicide risk, according to AFSP Vice President of Programs Doreen Marshall. "What we're starting to see is a shift to suicide prevention being more of a shared responsibility among the community, where there's a sense that we look out for each other."

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

Populations:  Youth, Children Ages 12 and Younger, Adolescents
Settings:  Schools, Middle School, High School
Strategies:  Identify and Assist, Postvention