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 6 Supp.1: S58-S62. doi:10.1080/10398560701701213

Author Bridge, Simon
Hanssens, Leonore
Santhanam, Radhika
Title Dealing with suicidal thoughts in schools: Information and education directed at secondary schools
Journal name Australasian Psychiatry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1039-8562
Publication date 2007-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/10398560701701213
Volume 15
Issue 6 Supp.1
Start page S58
End page S62
Total pages 5
Place of publication Carlton, VIC, Australia
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Language eng
Subject 321207 Indigenous Health
730206 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
Formatted abstract
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.

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.

Keyword Brief intervention
Northern Australia
Suicidal thoughts
Suicide prevention
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

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Created: Sat, 19 Apr 2008, 01:08:24 EST by Sarah Elliott on behalf of Psychiatry - Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital