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 Selected Research & Readings
 




Youth Suicide Prevention: Strengthening State Policies and School-based Strategies - This issue brief provides background on the issue of youth suicide, identifies the potential role of schools in suicide prevention, identifies five areas of state action to address suicide prevention and highlights individual states’ suicide prevention efforts. The five recommended areas of state action include: (1) increasing public awareness; (2) crafting state prevention plans; (3) establishing school-based prevention programs; (4) dedicating resources; and (5) encouraging collaboration across agencies and sectors. (Liam Goldrick, National Governors Association, April 2005)...

Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America - Looking at the suicide rate across age groups in the United States, the authors cite a “lack of national priority for mental health and suicide prevention” as a significant problem, and recommend the advancement and implementation of “a national campaign to reduce the stigma of seeking care and a national strategy for suicide prevention.” The national effort “would emphasize building voluntary coalitions to address suicide prevention in communities and would include local leaders, business and school personnel, and representatives of the faith community.” An executive summary also is available. (President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, July 2003)...

Guidelines for School-based Suicide Prevention Programs - In 14 short pages, this report examines the bases and requirements for school-based prevention programs in general, as well as for three variations of school-based suicide prevention programs – those for all students, those for groups of students at risk as identified by research (i.e., incoming high school freshmen), and individual students identified through screening. Also listed are the essential components of and a sample curriculum for a “comprehensive school-based suicide prevention program” defined as a “multilevel, multicomponent” intervention that includes specific components. Given that many programs – comprehensive or otherwise – do not last long, the authors also provide recommendations to ensure the longevity of programs once implemented. (Prevention Division, American Association of Suicidology, 1999)...

National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives for Action - The authors propose the first-ever National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. Targeted at citizens across the life span, the 11 goals identified in the strategy call for an extensive public/private collaboration, some of the activities and services in which would best be provided through schools and districts. A sampling of the school-related objectives include: “By 2005, increase the proportion of school districts and private school associations with evidence-based programs designed to address serious childhood and adolescent distress and prevent suicide”; “By 2005, increase the proportion of educational faculty and staff who have received training on identifying and responding to children and adolescents at risk for suicide”; “By 2005, define guidelines for mental health (including substance abuse) screening and referral of students in schools and colleges. Implement those guidelines in a proportion of school districts and colleges”; and “By 2005, increase the proportion of school districts in which school-based clinics incorporate mental health and substance abuse assessment and management into their scope of activities.” (Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001)...

Outcome Evaluation of the SOS Suicide Prevention Program - A study of the Signs of Suicide (SOS) prevention program indicated that students who participated in the intervention were significantly less likely than their peers in the control group to attempt suicide, and exhibited greater knowledge about depression and suicide. The researchers conclude that SOS is the first school-based suicide prevention program to result in markedly fewer self-reported suicide attempts. (Only abstract available, without journal subscription). (Robert H. Aseltine Jr., Department of Behavioral Sciences and Community Health, University of Connecticut Health Center; Robert DeMartino, Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration; published in the American Journal of Public Health, vol. 94, no. 3, pp. 446-451, March 2004)...

Programs for the Prevention of Suicide among Adolescents and Young Adults; and Suicide Contagion and the Reporting of Suicide: Recommendations from a National Workshop - These offer a summary of the eight suicide prevention strategies, findings and recommendations set forth in the 1992 Youth Suicide Prevention Programs: A Resource Guide. Also includes concerns and recommendations from a 1989 national meeting of suicidologists, public health officials, news media professionals and others on how to limit the spread of “suicide contagion.” Suicide contagion is the phenomenon in which suicide or suicidal behavior by one or more individuals motivates others to attempt or commit suicide and which can be influenced by the manner in which suicide-related incidents are reported by the media). The report identifies a number of avoidable characteristics of media coverage that may facilitate suicide contagion, while the appendix provides examples of hypothetical news reports likely and unlikely to result in suicide contagion. (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, vol. 43, no. RR-6, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, April 22, 1994)...

Reducing Suicide: A National Imperative - This e-book provides a wealth of information and research on suicide reduction efforts. (To find the most relevant chapters, search for “school” or “youth.”) Chapters include: (1) Introduction; (2) Magnitude of the Problem; (3) Psychiatric and Psychological Factors; (4) Biological Factors; (5) Childhood Trauma; (6) Society and Culture; (7) Medical and Psychotherapeutic Interventions; (8) Programs for Suicide Prevention; (9) Barriers To Effective Treatment and Intervention; and (10) Findings and Recommendations. The appendices provide workshop agendas, among other materials. (Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, National Academy of Sciences, 2002)...

School Health Guidelines To Prevent Unintentional Injuries and Violence - This report provides background on the need for measures to prevent injuries and violence, the rationale for school involvement, and research-based and successful practice-based recommendations in eight areas of school health efforts. The eight areas are: (1) a social environment that promotes safety; (2) a safe physical environment; (3) health education curricula and instruction; (4) safe physical education, sports and recreational activities; (5) health, counseling, psychological and social services for students; (6) appropriate crisis and emergency response; (7) family and community involvement; and (8) staff development to promote safety and prevent unintentional injuries, violence and suicide. The authors specify not every recommendation is suitable for implementation in every school, and schools must determine, based on need and available resources, those recommendations that are of greatest urgency to bring into effect. (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, vol. 50, no. RR-22, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, December 7, 2001)...

Student Suicide Prevention Begins with Recognition - This article by Keith A. King, who has published extensively on the issue of youth suicide, condenses the research for the lay reader on what schools and districts need to do to prevent suicide, as well as assist youth when a student commits suicide. Also see King’s Fifteen Prevalent Myths about Adolescent Suicide. (Keith A. King, School Administrator, American Association of School Administrators, May 2000)...

Substance Use and the Risk of Suicide Among Youths - Drawing from responses by 12- to-17-year olds to the 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, the study examines the extent of suicide risk among U.S. youth, youth who are at greater risk and the significantly greater risk of suicide among youths using alcohol or any illicit drug. In this report, youths considered “at risk” were those who had thought about or attempted suicide during the past year. The study found that while nearly 3 million youth were considered at risk, less than 36% had received mental health treatment during the last year, and 37% of the youth at risk had made at least one suicide attempt. (“The NHSDA Report”, Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, July 12, 2002)...

Youth Suicide - A concise, invaluable backgrounder on the causes and prevention of youth suicide. The brief considers the prevalence and methods of youth suicide, as well as the factors such as gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, family dynamics, psychiatric disorders, outlook and neurobiology that place an individual at greater or lesser risk. It lists the stresses and factors that may cause a troubled youth to commit or keep a child from committing suicide, and examines the various treatments and interventions available to youth at risk of attempting suicide. The brief also briefly touches upon the goals of the 2001 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, and offers suggestions of what symptoms parents might observe in a child at risk of attempting suicide. In a similar vein, but with more information specific to the role of schools in suicide prevention see Questions and Answers: Suicide Intervention in the Schools by Scott Poland and Richard Lieberman. (Child Study Center Letter, New York University School of Medicine, vol. 5, no. 5, May/June 2001) ...

Youth Suicide Prevention Programs: A Resource Guide - The researchers denominate the eight most common forms of suicide prevention: school gatekeeper training, community gatekeeper training, general suicide education, screening, peer support programs, crisis centers and hotlines, means restriction, and intervention after a suicide. For each form of intervention, they note the rationale and research findings; identify representative programs; and provide details on the focus, content and evaluation of each identified program. The authors additionally offer comments and recommendations, including the observations that few programs focus on young adults (ages 20-24), and very little research exists on the effectiveness of suicide prevention strategies, a situation that must be rectified. (Centers for Disease Control, 1992)...

Youth Suicide Prevention School-based Guide - The guide provides information to assist schools in the development of a framework to work in partnership with community resources and families. First, checklists can be completed to help evaluate the adequacy of the schools' suicide prevention programs. Second, information is offered in a series of issue briefs corresponding to a specific checklist. Each brief offers a rationale for the importance of the specific topic together with a brief overview of the key points. The briefs also offer specific strategies that have proven to work in reducing the incidence of suicide, with references that schools may then explore in greater detail. A resource section with helpful links also is included. (The Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute at the University of South Florida, 2003)...


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