Suicide faculty presentation


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  • It is important to have a basic knowledge of suicide issues in order to take appropriate action. Today we will provide basic information about suicide and how to help students in distress.
  • The person is feeling two things at the same time: there is a part of that person that wants to die and part that wants to live and both parts must be acknowledged. People who are suicidal are often unaware of the consequences of suicide that are obvious to the rest of the word. For people who are suicidal, normal communication has usually broken down and the suicide attempt may be the person’s way of sending a message or reacting to the isolation they feel because their communication skills are ineffective.
  • These factors especially relate to youth.
  • Statistics are only published periodically and these statistics are from the latest report, even though they are from 2006.
  • Take all statements seriously. Don’t assume a student is just seeking attention. Suicidal statements should be evaluated by a trained professional.
  • You may know of some stressors or difficulties the student may be having. That information can be extremely helpful to counselors in the assessment and treatment.
  • Risk factors may have a more distal relationship to suicide as opposed to warning signs. Examples of stressors are recent discipline action, relationship loss, death in familyResearch suggests that students who are in the GBLT (gay, bisexual, lesbian, transsexual) group are at higher risk
  • Warning signs are more proximal factors that suggest increased probability of suicide.
  • Many individuals go without being treated even after attempts so don’t assume they are getting helpOnly about 5% write a note, according to studiesDo not assume that they are only trying to get attention – it may be an indicator
  • Many students will come to you for help. You are the front line for most referrals. Please be sensitive and take signs seriously. When in doubt, refer to the guidance office.
  • Resources on Polk County procedures are posted in Outlook. Here are directions on how to access them.
  • Check out these resources and links for suicide prevention curriculum and additional information. Remember, curriculum for use in the classroom must be approved by the Crisis Review Committee. Contact Pam Stein for these procedures.
  • This presentation was developed by a multidisciplinary workgroup.
  • Suicide faculty presentation

    1. 1. You Can Save a Life:<br />Youth Suicide Prevention<br />Suicide Prevention Workgroup<br />The mission of Polk County Public Schools is to ensure rigorous, relevant learning experiences that result in high achievement for our students.<br />
    2. 2. Goals for Today<br />Recognizing a student at risk for suicide<br />Learning what actions to take if a student is potentially suicidal<br />Important legal issues<br />Resources<br />
    3. 3. Suicide is…<br />Intentional self-harm resulting in death <br />Under-reported<br />Preventable<br />You are liable if you do not intervene!<br />
    4. 4. Common Characteristics of an Individual Who is Considering Suicide<br />Person is often ambivalent<br />Often the individual has “tunnel vision” about solving their problem<br />Suicidal solution has an irrational component<br />Suicide is a form of communication<br />Kalafat, J. & Underwood, M. Making Educators Partners in Suicide Prevention. Lifelines: A School-Based Youth<br />Suicide Prevention Initiative. Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide.<br />
    5. 5. Protective Factors Regarding Suicide<br />Effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance use disorders<br />Easy access to a variety of clinical interventions and support for help-seeking<br />Restricted access to highly lethal means of suicide<br />Strong connections to family and community support<br />Support through ongoing medical and mental health care relationships<br />Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution and nonviolent handling of disputes<br />Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support self-preservation.<br />Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Risk and Protective Factors for Suicide.<br />
    6. 6. Youth-Specific Protective Factors<br />Contact with a caring adult<br />Sense of connection or participation in school<br />Positive self-esteem and coping skills<br />Access to and care for mental/physical/substance disorders<br />Kalafat, J. & Underwood, M. Making Educators Partners in Suicide Prevention. Lifelines: A School-Based Youth<br />Suicide Prevention Initiative. Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide.<br />
    7. 7. Facts and Figures<br />In 2006, suicide ranked as the 3rd leading cause of death for young people (ages 15-24)<br />In 2006, 216 children ages 10-14 died by suicide<br />
    8. 8. Facts and Figures<br />Each day 91 Americans die from suicide<br />Each day there are about 12 youth suicides<br />Every 1 hrs. and 59 min. someone under the age of 25 completes suicide<br />
    9. 9. Important Points<br />Not all attempters admit their intent – thus any self-harming behaviors should be considered serious and in need of further evaluation<br />Most adolescent suicide attempts are precipitated by interpersonal conflicts<br />The typical profile of a nonfatal suicide attempter is a female who ingests pills; the profile of a typical suicide completer is a male who dies from a gunshot wound<br />American Association of Suicidology<br />
    10. 10. Does Gender Matter?<br />Gender has a stronger influence than does race and ethnicity<br />Males, ages 15 - 19 are 5 times more likely than females to complete suicide<br />Three times as many females as males attempt suicide<br />
    11. 11. When?<br />Most adolescent suicides occur after school hours ( between 3 pm – 12 am)<br />They occur most often on Mondays and least often on weekends<br />They occur most often between March and September<br /><ul><li>American Association of Suicidology</li></li></ul><li>Where? What Method?<br />Most youth suicides occur at home<br />Firearms most common - 52%<br />Since 1999, 10 – 14 year olds complete suicide by suffocation more frequently than by firearms <br />
    12. 12. SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS<br />There isn’t a definitive method to determine if a student is suicidal. However, there are risk factors and warning signs to be aware of. Generally, more than one sign or symptom is present.<br />
    13. 13. Risk Factors<br />Presence of a psychiatric disorder (e.g. depression, mood disorder, anxiety disorders, etc.)<br />Previous suicidal behavior<br />Expression of thoughts of suicide or death<br />Poor problem solving and coping skills<br />Exposure to another’s suicidal behavior<br />Recent severe stressor<br />Family instability, significant conflict<br />Social isolation<br />
    14. 14. Warning Signs<br />Difficulty in school<br />Difficulty concentrating<br />Withdrawal from friends and family<br />Complaining of being a bad person<br />Personality change and serious mood changes<br />Rage, anger, anxiety, reckless behavior<br />Increased alcohol and drug use<br />Perception of being trapped or having no purpose in life; psychological pain<br />Eating and/or sleeping difficulties<br />
    15. 15. Don’t:<br />Ignore it<br />Agree to keep it a secret<br />Give advice<br />React emotionally<br />Give false hopes or quick answers to problems<br />Handle it alone <br />Put yourself in danger<br />
    16. 16. Do:<br />Become familiar with signs/symptoms<br />Listen—be calm and understanding<br />Offer support in a caring way<br />At all times, provide appropriate supervision<br />Get help from guidance/student services<br />Follow up <br />
    17. 17. Understanding Our Students<br />Familiarity with cultural beliefs can positively impact our relationships with students and their families.<br />Use information provided as a general framework – every family is unique. <br />It is important not to “generalize”<br />regarding family values. <br />18<br />
    18. 18. Responding to a Youth At-Risk for Suicide<br />Don’t be afraid to ask<br />Teachers are not responsible for doing a suicide risk assessment - student services personnel/crisis team members in the schools have been trained and are available to help<br />
    19. 19. Debunking Myths About Youth Suicide<br />Asking if a student is thinking about suicide does NOT increase the risk<br />It is a myth that those who have attempted suicide always receive treatment <br />Young people do not always leave suicide notes<br />Parents are not always aware of their child’s suicidal behavior<br />Not true that individuals who talk about suicide are only trying to get attention and are NOT seriously thinking about it<br />
    20. 20. What Teachers/Staff Might Say<br />“I’m here for you.”<br />“Let’s talk and figure out what we can do.”<br />“If I can’t help you, we can find someone who can.” <br />
    21. 21. General Staff Procedures<br />When a student threatens suicide:<br />Provide supervision <br />Never leave the student alone<br />Do not allow student to go home alone <br />Don’t send a student home until a risk assessment can be completed <br />Get help from student services/administration<br />Make sure parents are notified<br />Continue to monitor student’s progress<br />
    22. 22. Who Talks to the Parents of a Suicidal Child?<br />Administrator<br />School Psychologist<br />School Social Worker<br />Guidance Counselor <br />School Resource Officer<br />Crisis Team Member<br />* Parents MUST be notified by the administrator or designee. This is NOT the teacher’s responsibility!<br />
    23. 23. Teachers<br />REPORT TO GUIDANCE ASAP<br />Know signs/ symptoms<br />Watch students for changes in behavior<br />
    24. 24. Teacher Follow-up<br />Continue to monitor student’s progress<br />Report any further signs to guidance and administration<br />Document! Document! Document!<br />Offer continued support<br />Encourage student involvement in class and outside activities<br />Reinforce use of positive coping skills<br />Continue to listen<br />
    25. 25. Support Staff<br />Support personnel such <br /> as bus drivers, custodians,<br /> paraprofessionals, and office staff may be the first to identify a student in crisis. They should immediately report concerns to a school administrator.<br />
    26. 26. Administrators<br />Parents must be notified! Coordinate with guidance to ensure this is done.<br />Make sure student is supervised<br />Contact SRO right away if student is out of control or in imminent danger<br />
    27. 27. Administrator Follow-up<br />Find out if parents have sought outside support:<br />Mental health professional, doctor, clergy <br />Check with teacher/guidance regarding student’s progress<br />Ensure confidentiality/legal issues are addressed <br />
    28. 28. Other Administrator Responsibilities<br />Train instructional/non-instructional staff to:<br />Know signs/symptoms<br />Report to guidance/student services immediately<br />Show they care/be positive<br />
    29. 29. Guidance<br />You are the primary contact person<br />Call for additional help when needed<br />School psychologist<br />School social worker<br />Pam Stein (534-0958) or Linda Troupe (534-0928)<br />Document steps taken<br />Have a witness when calling parent<br />Complete suicide risk assessment, if trained<br />Attend Crisis Intervention Training<br />
    30. 30. Guidance Follow-up<br />Check with teacher on student’s progress<br />Check with student upon return to school<br />Follow-up on mental health issues<br />Follow “Recommendations for Dealing with Potential Student Suicide” available in Outlook, Student Services, Crisis Resources<br />
    31. 31. Baker Act<br />Baker Act is used when the student is in imminent danger of harm to self or others and has a mental health illness<br />If student does not seem to be at risk for imminent danger, a risk assessment should first be conducted<br />School Resource Officer/Deputy (SRO/SRD)/Licensed Mental Health professional can initiate Baker Act Procedures <br />When a student is not immediately at risk of suicide, counselors may assist parents with coordinating mental health services<br />
    32. 32. Where to Get Help?<br />911 or emergency room if imminent threat<br />Local mental health services <br />Winter Haven Hospital (1-800-723-3248 / 294-7062)<br />Peace River Center (1-800-627-5906)<br />Licensed mental health provider<br />Family doctor/pediatrician<br />National Hotlines<br />1-800-273-TALK<br />Faith community <br />Employee Assistance Program<br />
    33. 33. Legal Issues<br />Civil liability “means that one can be sued for acting wrongly toward another or for failing to act when there was a recognized duty <br />to do so.”<br />
    34. 34. Civil Liability<br />“Negligence,” or failure to respond, is the most common tort (legal error) committed by school personnel.<br />
    35. 35. Confidentiality<br />Confidentiality does not apply when student makes threat to harm self or others.<br />Never keep a student’s suicidal or homicidal intentions confidential, even if the student requests you to.<br />Disclose the least amount of information necessary and relevant to a referral.<br />Assure privacy when discussing confidential information with other professionals.<br />
    36. 36. Preventive Factors at School<br />Academic success<br />Perceived connectedness to the school<br />Good relationships with peers<br />Problem solving/conflict resolution abilities<br />
    37. 37. Suicide Resources<br />PCSB’s Crisis Training for Student Services Personnel<br />Student Services Personnel already trained in Crisis Intervention<br />Contact: Student Services Department <br /> Pam Stein at 534-0958<br /> or Linda Troupe at 534-0928<br />
    38. 38. Polk CountyResources in Outlook<br />Public Folders:<br />Go to Student Services tab<br />Go to Crisis Intervention tab<br />Teacher brochure<br />District procedures guide<br />Parent/teacher information<br />Reporting form for guidance/administrators<br />
    39. 39. Resources and Links<br />Use curriculum & materials approved by Crisis Team<br />Annotated bibliography of resources for school-based suicide prevention <br /> available at:<br /> School Based Youth Suicide Prevention Guide at<br />Suicide Prevention Resource Center at<br /> No specific endorsement is implied with the inclusion of any given program and absence of a given program does not presume negative judgment of its value. <br />
    40. 40. Resources and Links continued:<br /> The selected list of resources is given to provided additional information and help in suicide prevention. It is not all-inclusive.<br />American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry<br /><br />American Association of Suicidology<br /><br />American Foundation for Suicide Prevention<br /><br />Suicide Prevention Resource Center<br /><br />National Institute on Mental Health<br /><br />National Alliance on Mental Illness<br /><br />Statewide Office of Suicide Prevention<br /><br />g<br />
    41. 41. More Resources <br />Peace River Mobile Crisis Response Team(863) 519-3744<br />Access Line (Winter Haven Hospital)<br />1-800-723-3248 <br />or 293-1121 (Access Line)<br />
    42. 42. Suicide Prevention Work Group<br />Pam Stein, Psychological Services<br />Linda Troupe, Student Services<br />Ann Marshall, Support Services<br />Chris Laney, Legal Services<br />Madonna Wise, Guidance Services<br />Poinsetta Williams, School Counselor<br />Adam Summeralls, School Counselor<br />Peggy Smith, School Social Worker<br />Audrey Kelley, Mark Wilcox Center<br />Bill Sone, School Resource Deputy<br />Kirk Fasshauer, Peace River Center, Crisis Response Team<br />Marie Dudek, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention<br />Meena Mohan, Winter Haven Behavioral Health<br />Mary McGregor, School Psychologist<br />