TeachME Professional Development

Tools for Helping to Prevent Suicide Among High School Students-Part One

Suicide Prevention: Facts for Schools

1. Each of the following is an accurate statement about how suicide impacts young people EXCEPT:

A. One out of every 53 high school students (1.9 percent) reported having made a suicide attempt that was serious enough to be treated by a doctor or a nurse

B. For each suicide death among young people, there may be as many as 100-200 suicide attempts

C. Approximately 1 out of every 25 high school students attempts suicide each year

D. For American Indian/Alaska Native males, the rate is 2.5 times higher than the overall numbers for males in that age group


Four Reasons Why Schools Should Address Suicide

2. Maintaining a safe school environment must be part of a school's overall mission, and should include improving school climate and promoting connectedness as a way to help reduce risk of suicide, violence, bullying, and substance abuse.

A. True

B. False


School Connectedness

3. School connectedness is the belief by students that adults and peers in the school care about their learning as well as about them as individuals, and includes creating ____________________ that facilitate student, family, and community engagement; academic achievement; and staff empowerment.

A. Problem-solving practices

B. Conflict-resolution policies

C. Behavioral health procedures

D. Decision-making processes


Chapter 1-A Strategic Approach to Preventing Suicide in Schools

4. The two essential components that every school should have in place for suicide prevention and intervention are protocols for helping students at possible risk of suicide and protocols to educate staff and parents about suicide risk and health promotion.

A. True

B. False


Tool 1.D: Risk and Protective Factors and Warning Signs Factsheets

5. While risk factors for suicide refer to personal or environmental characteristics that are associated with suicide, protective factors are personal or environmental characteristics that can buffer the effects of risk factors and reduce the probability of suicide.

A. True

B. False


Risk Factors for Youth Suicide

6. Recent research identifies behavioral health issues and disorders that are associated with suicide, including depressive disorders, substance abuse or dependence, conduct and disruptive behavior disorders and:

A. Capacity to self-injure

B. Genetic and biological vulnerability

C. Aggressive or violent behavior

D. Low stress and frustration tolerance


Protective Factors for Youth Suicide

7. Actions by school staff to enhance protective factors are an essential element of a suicide prevention effort, and strengthening these factors also protects students from other risks, including violence, substance abuse, and academic failure.

A. True

B. False


Recognizing and Responding to Warning Signs for Suicide

8. Experts recommend contacting a mental health professional when witnessing each of the following warning signs for suicide EXCEPT:

A. Sudden loss of interest in school, a significant drop in academic performance, or truancy

B. Rage, anger, and seeking revenge

C. Recklessness or risky behavior, seemingly without thinking

D. Hopelessness, withdrawal, and expressions of feeling trapped


Tool 1.E: Data on Youth Suicide

9. The most recent available data on youth suicide suggests that among 13-24 year olds, American Indian/Alaska Natives have the highest suicide death rates, followed closely by Asian/Pacific Islanders and African Americans.

A. True

B. False


10. Experts report that the leading methods by which young people ages 13-19 take their own lives are suffocation (including hanging) and intentional drug overdose.

A. True

B. False


Tool 1.F: Suicide and Substance Abuse Information Sheet

11. The use of alcohol and other drugs by adolescents can be an attempt to self-medicate, that is, to ease the pain and suffering associated with depression, family dysfunction, and other problems, many of which are also associated with suicide risk.

A. True

B. False


Implications for Prevention

12. Substance abuse and suicidality can be addressed with common strategies including identifying students suffering from suicidality, substance abuse, or depression and ensuring that they receive help, as well as enhancing overarching protective factors, such as school connectedness.

A. True

B. False


Tool 1.G: Suicide and Bullying Information Sheet

13. Many children who are bullied have personal characteristics that increase their risk of victimization, including internalizing problems, low self-esteem, low assertiveness, and:

A. Social alienation and isolation

B. Aggressiveness in early childhood

C. Poor problem-solving or coping skills

D. Perception of being unliked or unpopular


14. The effects of bullying on suicidal behavior and mental health are long term and may persist into adulthood, so efforts must be made to identify and provide appropriate services to students with personal characteristics that increase their risk of being bullied, bullying others, or suicidal behavior.

A. True

B. False


15. According to the authors, culture profoundly influences how people think about suicide, death, and mental illness, how they display emotions or distress, and:

A. What types of coping styles and social supports they have

B. The meanings that people impart to their illness

C. The stigma they attach to the service setting

D. How they ask for or accept help


Checklist of Suicide Prevention Activities

16. Staff education and training for suicide prevention should include training all professional and support staff to recognize and respond appropriately to students and to assess, refer, and follow up with students who may be at risk of suicide.

A. True

B. False


Chapter 2: Protocols for Helping Students at Risk for Suicide-Steps to Develop Protocols

17. When developing protocols to help students at risk of suicide, the first step needs to be identifying mental health service providers to whom students can be referred when experiencing suicidal tendencies.

A. True

B. False


Step 4: Develop a Protocol to Help Students at Risk for Suicide

18. School personnel must always immediately notify parents or guardians when there appears to be any risk that a student may harm himself or herself, even if they fear that doing so will exacerbate the situation.

A. True

B. False


Step 6: Plan for Managing a Student's Return to School

19. Schools should be prepared to facilitate the reentry of students who have missed school because of a suicide attempt or related behavioral health issue, and need to understand that returning to school can be difficult for these young people because:

A. They may worry about the reactions of their peers and teachers

B. They may have problems catching up on their school work

C. They may be taking medications that can interfere with their academics

D. All of the above


Tool 2.B.2: Self-Injury and Suicide Risk Information Sheet

20. The relationship between self-injury and suicide is complicated, and researchers believe that self-injury is the result of a very complex interaction among social, developmental, intellectual, and emotional factors, and that it is often linked directly to suicidal behavior.

A. True

B. False


Tool 2.C: Protocol for Responding to a Student Suicide Attempt

21. The first adult to reach a student who has attempted suicide should stay with the student or designate one or more other adults to stay with him or her, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency service provider, and contact the Student Risk Response Coordinator.

A. True

B. False


Chapter 3: After a Suicide

22. The process by which the suicide or suicidal behavior of one or more persons influences others to commit or attempt suicide is known as:

A. Suicide contagion

B. Suicide pestilence

C. Suicide pact

D. Suicide covenant


Steps to Develop Protocols for Responding to a Suicide

23. Before preparing to create a protocol for responding to a suicide, school personnel should first investigate what is already in place, such as determining if there are there any state, district, Bureau of Indian Education, or tribal protocols or procedures to which the school must conform, and whether or not the school already has a crisis response plan.

A. True

B. False


Step 6: Help Staff Understand the Protocols

24. Those that are responsible for implementing suicide response protocols need to be aware that some staff members may have had experiences that may make it emotionally difficult for them to undertake particular responsibilities.

A. True

B. False


Steps to Take in Immediate Aftermath

25. After a suicide, each of the following is recommended to support staff and students EXCEPT:

A. Providing guidance for staff when talking to students

B. Identifying, monitoring, and supporting students who may be at risk

C. Contacting and coordinating efforts with external mental health professionals to help staff

D. Implementing steps to help students with emotional regulation


Tool 3.A.3: Guidelines for Working with the Family

26. When working with the family of a student who died by suicide, school personnel should provide the parents with information about grief counseling, but should not inquire about funeral arrangements, as that is an extremely sensitive topic that should only be initiated by the family.

A. True

B. False


Tool 3.A.4: Guidelines for Notifying Staff

27. Experts suggest that announcements about suicide should always be made in classrooms so that staff are able to assess students' reactions, respond to students' concerns, provide support, and:

A. Identify those who may need additional help

B. Advise on appropriate memorialization

C. Monitor information and misinformation that is being shared

D. Help students cope by describing specific steps for them to take to comfort one another


28 Tool 3.A.7: Talking Points for Students and Staff after a Suicide

28. Although talking about the suicide method that was used can create images that are upsetting, it is generally recommended that school personnel be honest and forthcoming, as this will likely encourage students to more openly express their fears and concerns.

A. True

B. False


Tool 3.A.9: Guidelines for Working with the Media

29. The staff person responsible for working with the media should prepare a written statement for release to those media representatives who request it, which includes a very brief statement acknowledging the death of the student, an expression of the school's sympathy to the survivors of the deceased, and:

A. Information about the school's post-vention policy and program

B. Specific plans to memorialize the student

C. Policies for responding to further media requests related to the incident

D. None of the above


Tool 3.B: Long-Term Response Protocol

30. When preparing for the long-term aftermath of a suicide, school officials should have a plan to acknowledge the anniversary of the death and be ready to provide support to siblings of the deceased who may be enrolling in the high school.

A. True

B. False


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