Dealing with suicidal thoughts in schools: information and education directed at secondary schools

Bridge, Simon, Hanssens, Leonore, and Santhanam, Radhika (2007) Dealing with suicidal thoughts in schools: information and education directed at secondary schools. Australasian Psychiatry, 15. S58-S62.

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Abstract

Objective: Current practice in Australia is to avoid discussing suicide or suicidal ideation directly with students in school suicide prevention programs. This paper examines why there is a strong argument to question this approach in the context of a continuing unacceptable rate of youth suicide in this country.

Methods: A review of the literature that informs the debate was conducted. Using an action research methodology, a more direct intervention approach was taken based on the use of the 'Toughin' it out' pamphlet.

Results: A misrepresentation of the evidence surrounding school-based suicide intervention programs in Australia has made educators and guidance officers wary of being more direct with suicide prevention programs. The experience of several practitioners in northern Australia suggests that it is highly beneficial to engage students in discussions about suicide and how to deal with suicidal thoughts. Their impression is that this has led to a lessening of suicide attempts in high-risk situations and there has been no evidence of any adverse outcome.

Conclusion: The ongoing tragedy of Indigenous adolescent suicide in Australia demands that all possible interventions should be considered. Taking a more direct approach to school suicide prevention and life-promoting programs using the brief intervention tool, the 'Toughin' it out' pamphlet, appeared to be associated with a positive impact on suicide in high-risk secondary schools in northern Australia. The positive experience in northern Australia would support a similar approach being considered in school programs nationally.

Item ID: 2311
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: brief intervention; suicidal thoughts; suicide prevention; school; northern Australia
Additional Information:

ISSN: 1440-1665
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2009 06:23
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111716 Preventive Medicine @ 40%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 40%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110319 Psychiatry (incl Psychotherapy) @ 20%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920399 Indigenous Health not elsewhere classified @ 51%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 49%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
Downloads: Total: 3
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