Schools without Suicide: How teachers can make a difference!

Studies conducted in the past indicate that almost 15 per cent of high school students confessed to having considered suicide within their short lives. Young school-going teens can be vulnerable to the concept of suicide in which one death serves as a domino effect and begins others. However experts explain that there are certain procedures that can be implemented by parents to reduce the risk of teen suicide and ultimately help stop a domino effect of deaths from spreading, wherein amidst these procedures and steps schools can play a vital role.

Suicide is simply not an occurrence that occurs randomly but is triggered by contributing factors. “Teachers should be conscious that suicide is a many-sided issue, such that 90 per cent of children that conduct self-harm carry a psychiatric disorder,” Professionals have explained “Even in suicide groups, there’s commonly a fundamental condition that’s precipitated by a recent occurrence. The cause isn’t simply the breaking up of a close relationship, or a divorce at home, or an arrest. It is this fundamental disorder which is the absolute last straw.” Researchers then explain that teachers within schools can contribute greatly in making a difference towards prevention through two ways: by simply observing students who are at risk and encouraging a suicide-screening program within the school environment.

More specifically, teachers and school authorities can take the following preventative procedures:

Stay on the watch: Professionals explain that typical symptoms of depression include mood changes, anxiety; loss of interest or pleasure in activities that are normally enjoyed; as well as eating or sleeping excessively or not enough. Within a classroom environment depression can be indicated through students falling behind in class, behaving withdrawn, losing attentiveness or spending less time with friends and colleagues. Also, teens suffering from depression have pessimistic attitudes about themselves, such that they may express thoughts of death. Moodiness being a common teenage trait can be difficult to differentiate from the normal or abnormal. However lifestyle changes caused by depression are long term in comparison to changes encouraged by mood swings and thus teachers should consistently be observing long term behavioural changes.

Teachers may also want to bear in mind simple risk factors that contribute towards teen suicide which includes the history of previous suicide attempts, a family history of suicide, alcohol or drug abuse, stressful life events or loss and the amount of exposure to the suicidal behaviour from other students.

Express your thoughts and communicate with other teachers around you and the affected student: Teachers who may be concerned about a certain student should communicate with a school nurse, counsellor, principle and directly to the child’s parents. It is suggested that the teacher perhaps even question the students close friends, as well as guardians and caretakers of the child. Approaching the student with effective methods is also a possibility but should be thoughtfully considered in reference to the severity of the situation.

Encourage a Suicide Screening Program within your school: Research has indicated that school screening programs assist in detecting the number of possible at-risk-of -suicide students, which ultimately results in lower suicide rates. It is necessary that schools that conduct screening processes have procedures that refer students to other care when required.

Studies conducted in the past indicate that almost 15 per cent of high school students confessed to having considered suicide within their short lives. Young school-going teens can be vulnerable to the concept of suicide in which one death serves as a domino effect and begins others. However experts explain that there are certain procedures that can be implemented by parents to reduce the risk of teen suicide and ultimately help stop a domino effect of deaths from spreading, wherein amidst these procedures and steps schools can play a vital role.

 

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