A downloadable version of this guide, the student writing prompt, student support sheet, rubrics and student handout are attached at the bottom of the article
Lesson Title: Prevention of Suicide
Brief Summary: Children and teens spend significant time in school. Teachers and other staff who interact with students daily are in a prime position to recognize the signs of suicide risk, and to make appropriate referrals. However, it is also important to empower students with awareness and prevention tools. By creating a culture of ‘If you see something, then say something,’ students learn the powerful role they can play in keeping their school community safe. Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death. Attempted suicide is an action to take one’s life that does not end in death, but rather self-injury. Boys are more likely to die from suicide while girls are more likely to report attempting suicide. But there’s good news – suicide is preventable.
PLEASE NOTE: It is typical for adolescents to have mood swings and strong emotional responses on occasion. However, if changes in mood or behaviors are impairing a student’s ability to function academically or socially, please contact the school counselor or district Mental Health Professional.
If a student asks a question or shares information that you don’t have the answers to or know how to respond to, take the following steps:
1. Stay calm.
2. Validate what the student said and how brave they were to share.
3. Let them know that you want to help in any way possible while protecting their privacy.
4. If the response indicates an emergency, get help immediately.
5. If the response does not indicate an emergency, get help as soon as class is over.
- Students will learn the risk factors for suicide including bullying/cyberbullying, untreated mental health disorder such as depression, and difficult life events that incite feeling helpless, hopeless, or trapped (i.e. parents’ divorce, abuse, an alcoholic or drug addicted family member).
- Students will learn the warning signs for bullying, depression, and suicide.
- Students will learn what action they can take to help a friend who is suicidal.
- Suicide- the act of intentionally causing one’s own death
- Attempted suicide- an action to take one’s life that does not end in death, but rather self-injury
- Bullycide- suicide as a result of incessant bullying
- Suicide is preventable.
- Everyone has a role in preventing suicide.
Upon completion of viewing online content: Students will learn how they can help a peer who is feeling depressed and/or suicidal
Teachers: Please have students complete the activity on the following page. As we connect today’s lesson to our curriculum, please use the appropriate grade-level rubric to assess your students.
Continue the Conversation:
- The connectivity between thinking-feeling-doing: How can we connect what we think about suicide and suicide prevention to how we are feeling? What actions can you take to apply this information in a meaningful way?
- Self, Others, World: How can you use the information you learned in this lesson to help yourself? To help your friends and family? To help other people?
- Suicide prevention is about awareness. What awareness did today’s content bring about in you? Identify some actions or behaviors you may be able to replace with healthier options.
Additional activities/resources/suggested reading:
Prevention of Suicide
Question: Discuss what you can do if you think a friend might be considering suicide.
Grading rubrics for all grades are attached at the bottom.