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ERIC Number: EJ1205639
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0164-775X
Suicide Contagion and Clusters--Part 1: What School Psychologists Should Know
Poland, Scott; Lieberman, Richard; Niznik, Marina
Communique, v47 n5 p1, 21-23 Jan-Feb 2019
The suicide of a student has a rippling effect in the school environment as well as in the greater community, as a single adolescent death by suicide increases the risk of additional suicides. The process by which a completed suicide (or at times, suicidal behavior) increases the suicidal behavior of others is called contagion. When multiple suicides occur close in time and geographical area, at a rate greater than normally would be expected in a given community, it is considered a cluster (Centers for Disease Control [CDC], 1988). Adolescents are the most susceptible age group for imitating suicidal behavior; therefore, discussions of contagion often center on prevention efforts in the school environment, necessitating that school psychologists play a central role. Successful suicide postvention is dependent upon a timely, efficient, and targeted response to a student suicide and increasingly, the ability of school personnel to recognize the possibility of contagion. School psychologists need to stay informed of the emerging and relevant factors related to the potential of suicide contagion in the schools to avoid suicide clusters, while simultaneously keeping in mind that it is quite rare. A foundational base to prevent suicide and contagion in the schools can be built on a school climate of positive connections between students and adults, within the community and the school building, while ensuring students consistently and genuinely receive the clear message from all adults that "We are here to help."
National Association of School Psychologists. 4340 East West Highway Suite 402, Bethesda, MD 20814. Tel: 301-657-0270; Fax: 301-657-0275; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A