1. Singh Joy, Subhashni D.
  2. Rosenberg, Karen


According to this study:


* A school-based program provides students with coping strategies and information to help decrease suicidal ideation and behaviors.



Article Content

To help curb increasing rates of suicide in teenagers and young adults, a nurse (one of the authors of the study discussed here) designed a school-based program called Surviving the Teens Suicide Prevention and Depression Awareness Program. In four 50-minute sessions the program teaches students risk factors for depression and suicide, suicide warning signs, coping strategies, and how to get help for themselves or their friends.


Researchers examined the program's efficacy by administering a survey to high school students in the Greater Cincinnati area before they underwent the program, after the last class, and three months after program completion. Of the 1,030 students who participated, 919 completed both the pretest and posttest surveys; 416 also completed the follow-up survey. According to the pretest survey results, 21% of students had seriously considered attempting suicide, 9% had made a suicide plan in the previous three months, and 4% were currently considering suicide. In addition, 12% had attempted suicide; 21 of those students received medical care as a result. Although 25% of students indicated that they had stopped performing their usual activities because they felt too sad and helpless, only 15% had received counseling and 8% were taking medication for a mental health disorder.


A comparison of results from surveys completed before and just after the program showed a decrease from 4% to 3% in the proportion of students currently considering suicide seriously, with a similar decrease from 4% at baseline to 2% at the three-month follow-up. Immediately after and three months after program completion, students considered themselves better able to recognize when a friend was suicidal and better equipped to help a friend or themselves. The majority of students indicated that the program helped them learn about the warning signs of and risk factors for suicide, how to handle stress, and what to do if they or a friend was suicidal. These findings support the use of the program in schools, and the authors suggest ongoing reminders to reinforce the program's messages.-SDSJ




King KA, et al. J Sch Health. 2011;81(9):581-90