Suicide Is Rising among Younger Students. Here’s How Schools Can Prevent Tragedy
April 22, 2022
While most suicide prevention programs in schools are focused on teens, suicide rates have been rising among younger students. Elementary and middle schools can play a key role in prevention, say experts. Best practice is to train all school staff in suicide prevention because students may not necessarily go to a teacher if they are struggling. The signs of suicide in that age group may appear as behavioral issues or physical complaints, so it is important that staff know what to look out for. More broadly, experts recommend all adults get more comfortable talking about suicide and mental health to help make it more comfortable for kids. “Young people who are in that level of distress usually feel a lot of relief at being able to talk about suicide. So asking, ‘Are you thinking about ending your life?’ it opens a door to a young person being able to express what they’re going through,” said Ellyson Stout, SPRC senior content director at Education Development Center. “I think we all intuitively don’t want to go there and are worried that we might be introducing the concept, but talking about suicide does not cause suicide.”
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