Middle and High School

What is Comprehensive School Suicide Prevention and why is it Important?

Comprehensive School Suicide Prevention describes a set of school-based strategies aimed at preventing and addressing adolescent suicide on multiple levels. Effective comprehensive school suicide prevention programs consist of three levels: Primary Prevention (prevention), Secondary Prevention (intervention), and Tertiary Prevention (postvention). All three levels are needed for schools to comprehensively address adolescent suicide. This manual provides an overview of these prevention levels and provides practical steps to ensure that each level is effectively addressed by a school system.

Comprehensive school suicide prevention is important because efforts can be made within the school to protect adolescents from suicide as well as to quickly detect warning signs and risk factors in adolescents who are suicidal. This ensures that adolescents at risk receive the help they need. Since adolescents spend such a large amount of time at school, the school serves an ideal setting for prevention efforts. Research indicates that many adolescents first turn to a peer when experiencing personal problems or emotional distress. In addition, the overwhelming majority of adolescents contemplating suicide shows warning signs. Oftentimes, these warning signs are displayed at school. Thus, it is imperative for schools to have faculty, staff, and students educated regarding suicide warning signs as well as the appropriate steps to take for assistance.



The following steps are key to effectively developing and implementing a Comprehensive School Suicide Prevention Program: