Screening students’ suicidal behaviors in schools is vital in the U.S. The President’s Mental Health Commission requires schools to offer preventive education to students. Social workers play a crucial role in student suicide risk assessment and management among the youth.
Suicide Risk Assessment in Schools
Adolescents spend most of their time in school. A school-based program is recommended to address youth suicide. Legislation such as the Youth Suicide Prevention Act of 1987 and the Public Health Service Act of 1990 have increased the number of student suicide risk assessment programs. It is divided into three groups; curriculum programs, schoolwide suicide assessment, and staff training.
Curriculum programs are the most common risk assessment programs. Staff training for teaching and non-teaching employees help in identifying suicidal students. Nevertheless, more research is required to determine its efficacy.
Schoolwide assessment involves self-report suicide assessment to trace suicidal adolescents. Students who are at high risk are generally interviewed to get a reliable risk assessment. Many researchers believe that it is more efficient than staff training and curriculum programs.
Risk Assessment Programs
Prevention programs incorporate a suicide awareness curriculum and a screening brief. Teachers evaluate it using randomized control designs. They educate students on the symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts. Students score a depression scale to assess suicidal thoughts and experiences. Suicide awareness curriculums enlighten adolescents on depression and suicidal behaviors.
Suicide risk assessment is a program and a tool which is empirically validated. Its evaluation focuses on identifying suicidal students. President Bush’s mental health commission has identified it as a tool for suicide prevention. Its first stage involves completing the risk assessment tool. Students at high risk are screened through a computer.
Benefits of Student Suicide Risk Assessment
- Few injuries among students and the staff
- Minimum litigation and paperwork costs
- Compliance with public health and suicide prevention laws
- Schools comply with the state-approved teaching curriculum
- It enables schools to maintain different equipment and chemicals
Crucial Signs of Suicidal Thoughts
Social workers are advised to use evidenced-based assessment programs. They teach adolescents to distinguish the signs of depression and how they can lead to suicide. Surprisingly, less than 15% of depressed students attempt suicide. Focusing on risk factors such as depression signs is ineffective as they are not certain warning signs.
Suicide risk assessment aims at enabling people to identify and counsel suicidal students. Distinguishing risk factors from warning signs is critical. However, most risk assessment programs are inconsistent. Warning signs indicate imminent danger for the people to manage suicidal behaviors among students.
Suicide is a significant cause of death among American students. Generally, the suicidal youth exhibit sure warning signs before committing suicide. Often, it is tricky to assess them.