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Dealing with Suicidal Thoughts in Schools: Information and Education Directed at Secondary Schools

Bridge, Simon, Hanssens, Leonore and Santhanam, Radhika (2007). Dealing with Suicidal Thoughts in Schools: Information and Education Directed at Secondary Schools. Australasian Psychiatry,15(1 - Supplement):S58-S62.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 2 times in Scopus Article | Citations

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Title Dealing with Suicidal Thoughts in Schools: Information and Education Directed at Secondary Schools
Author Bridge, Simon
Hanssens, Leonore
Santhanam, Radhika
Journal Name Australasian Psychiatry
Publication Date 2007
Volume Number 15
Issue Number 1 - Supplement
ISSN 1039-8562   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-36348930462
Start Page S58
End Page S62
Total Pages 5
Place of Publication United Kingdom
Publisher Sage Publications Ltd.
Abstract Objective: Current practice in Australia is to avoid discussing suicide or suicidal ideation directly with students in school suicide prevention programs. This paper examines why there is a strong argument to question this approach in the context of a continuing unacceptable rate of youth suicide in this country.

Methods: A review of the literature that informs the debate was conducted. Using an action research methodology, a more direct intervention approach was taken based on the use of the ‘Toughin’ it out’ pamphlet.

A misrepresentation of the evidence surrounding school-based suicide intervention programs in Australia has made educators and guidance officers wary of being more direct with suicide prevention programs. The experience of several practitioners in northern Australia suggests that it is highly beneficial to engage students in discussions about suicide and how to deal with suicidal thoughts. Their impression is that this has led to a lessening of suicide attempts in high-risk situations and there has been no evidence of any adverse outcome.

The ongoing tragedy of Indigenous adolescent suicide in Australia demands that all possible interventions should be considered. Taking a more direct approach to school suicide prevention and life-promoting programs using the brief intervention tool, the ‘Toughin’ it out’ pamphlet, appeared to be associated with a positive impact on suicide in high-risk secondary schools in northern Australia. The positive experience in northern Australia would support a similar approach being considered in school programs nationally.
Keywords Brief intervention
Northern Australia
Suicidal thoughts
Suicide prevention
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Created: Fri, 29 Aug 2014, 18:18:08 CST by Anthony Hornby