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January 2022

The school psychologist's role in suicide prevention

Author(s): Brock, S. E.

Journal/Book: School Psychol Quart. 1996; 11: 72 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012. Guilford Press. 169-185.

Abstract: Youth suicide is a leading cause of death among adolescents and represents a major health problem for this population. The school psychologist's involvement in this health issue spans primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention and working with the aftermath of a suicide or suicide attempt. Primary prevention activities involve supporting and delivering curricula educating youth about suicide in general and promoting social problem solving in the school milieu. Other primary prevention activities include: Screening all students for suicidal ideation, creating networks of peer helpers, working to reduce the availability of suicidal means (e.g. gun control), training school personnel to identify and refer potentially suicidal individuals, and establishing interdisciplinary crisis response teams. Secondary prevention involves working with individuals and groups at risk for engaging in suicidal behavior. Special education, alternative education students, gay and lesbian youth, certain ethnic minority youth, and individuals with psychopathology need to receive differential services and attention. Tertiary prevention requires swift treatment and referral. Services delivered following a suicide are termed ''postvention.'' Suicide survivors obviously must receive services as part of tertiary prevention, but school psychologists must be prepared to advise school personnel on such issues as memorializing a death, communicating information, and squelching rumors.

Note: Article J Sandoval, Univ Calif Davis, Div Educ, 2075 Acad Surge, Davis, CA 95616 USA

Keyword(s): INTERVENTION; BEHAVIOR; CLUSTERS; CHILDREN; PROGRAMS


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