ERIC Number: ED336666
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
An Open Letter to School Administrators and Mental Health Professionals about School-Based Suicide Prevention Programs.
Grazman, Harriet B.
In response to the increasing rate of adolescent suicide, many school and mental health professionals have implemented school-based suicide prevention programs to address the issue of adolescent suicide. Most suicide prevention programs cover similar topics. However, the perspectives from which they approach suicide may vary. The majority of programs used in schools today present suicide from the stress perspective, as an option that could be considered by almost anyone experiencing extreme stress. These programs do not strongly correlate suicide with mental illness. Professionals using the stress model choose it because they believe it provides a non-threatening intervention to a very threatening problem and more adolescents will disclose their suicidal thoughts if they are not linked to labels of mental illness. The suicide prevention programs presented from a mental illness perspective, used less frequently in schools, emphasize the link between adolescent suicide and such mental illnesses as depression, antisocial behavior, and substance abuse. Proponents of this model argue that this perspective is substantiated in empirical studies, and that failing to emphasize the correlates between suicide and mental illness misinforms adolescents about the causes of suicide. Before presenting suicide programs, professionals must become well informed about adolescent suicide and available materials, develop a level of comfort within themselves in dealing with the topic of suicide, and provide the appropriate support for those adolescents who may require further help in processing the information. (ABL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Orthopsychiatric Association (68th, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, March 23-26, 1991).