Response: A Comprehensive High School-based Suicide Awareness Program (2nd Edition)

Date: 2007
(For resources, this is the publication date. For programs, this is the date posted.)


Type:  Program/Practice, Education/Training Program
Organization:  ColumbiaCare

School Kit $425.
Includes implementation, coordinator, and teacher manuals
with associated PowerPoint presentations and DVD’s

Additional Teacher Manual $137.50
Includes PowerPoint presentation and Never Enough DVD

Optional Parent Workshop $175.
Includes PowerPoint presentation and Parent Component

Optional Overview Presentation (plus expenses) $350.


Gary McConahay, PhD
Clinical Director
ColumbiaCare Services, Inc.
3587 Heathrow Way
Medford, OR 97504
Voice: 541-858-8170

RESPONSE is a comprehensive high school-based program that increases awareness about suicide among high school staff, students and parents. All program components are designed to heighten sensitivity to depression and suicidal ideation, increase identification, and facilitate referral. The program also provides procedures to refer a student who may be at-risk for suicide. Components include (1) a two-hour awareness training for staff, (2) a four-hour student curriculum (spread across four class periods), and parent awareness materials. An implementation assistance manual is also included for administrators. Before implementing the awareness components, participating schools must identify key staff to serve on a suicide prevention team. Key school-based staff should include the principal or vice-principal, a school-based RESPONSE coordinator, two "suicide contacts" responsible for handling referrals, and a counselor. Each component of RESPONSE integrates extensive “in the field” experience and key evaluation findings from other school-based programs. Videos for the awareness components were developed in collaboration with an award-winning film company.

Program Objectives

After implementation, participants should have:

  1. Increased knowledge of signs of depression and suicide.
  2. Increased understanding of attitudes and behaviors that can hinder help seeking.
  3. Increased understanding of steps to seek help for self and others.
  4. Increased knowledge of “crisis contacts” at the school for immediate help.

Implementation Essentials

  • Review of school or district readiness for RESPONSE (through implementation checklist).
  • In-service training for staff and faculty prior to classroom instruction.
  • Advanced training for selected staff to act as “crisis contacts” prior to classroom instruction (ASIST training is recommended; see their fact sheet on the registry for more information).

2012 NSSP Objectives Addressed: 

Objective 5.2: Encourage community-based settings to implement effective programs and provide education that promote wellness and prevent suicide and related behaviors.
Objective 7.1: Provide training on suicide prevention to community groups that have a role in the prevention of suicide and related behaviors.
Populations:  Youth, Adolescents
Settings:  Schools, High School
Strategies:  Identify and Assist, Gatekeeper Training, Increase Help-Seeking