Pub. Date:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
A Culture of Caring: A Suicide Prevention Guide for Schools (K-12)

A Culture of Caring: A Suicide Prevention Guide for Schools (K-12)

by Theodora SchiroTheodora Schiro


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As awareness grows about the alarming increase in youth suicide rates, school leaders need information on suicide prevention and postvention. Tragically, the search often begins only after the school community has suffered the loss of a student. Schools must start to be proactive and educate themselves about risk factors and prevention strategies.

Designed as a handbook for busy educators, A Culture of Caring: A Suicide Prevention Guide for Schools (K—12) includes information about prevention, intervention, and postvention along with commentary from experts in the field. Each chapter stands alone and does not have to be read in sequence. Resources and descriptions of programs relevant to each chapter are organized by topic. School leaders, counselors, and teachers can use the information to create their own plans or just glance through it to get ideas. With this book, any school community that takes suicide prevention seriously will have access the knowledge, tools and resources to save lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781475844481
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 02/20/2020
Pages: 166
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Theodora Schiro was a teacher and school administrator for over 36 years, and now works to increase awareness of depression and other mental health disorders by educating school personnel in suicide prevention. She is also a freelance writer for non-profits and businesses that provide educational products and services.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Preface: The Story of Joss
Chapter 1. A Brief History of Suicide Prevention
The Stigma of Suicide
Emergence of Suicide Prevention
Active Prevention Efforts
The Action Alliance
Progress and Problems
Facts and Figures
Chapter 2. The Current State of Suicide Prevention in Schools
We Can Prevent Suicide
Expert Commentary: Nicole Gibson, Director of State Policy and Grassroots Advocacy, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
The Current State of Suicide Prevention in Schools
Shortage of Sustainable Funding
Access to Mental Health Care
What Does the Most Effective State Statute for Suicide Prevention in Schools Look Like?
Evaluating Suicide Prevention Methods in Schools
Effective Prevention Models
Recommendations for Initiating a Suicide Prevention Program in a School or District
Basic Components of a Suicide Prevention Model for Schools
A Tragic Scenario
Legislating to Prevent Suicide
Where to Find Suicide Prevention Training
Suicide Prevention Training Programs and Resources for Schools
Why Schools Don’t Address Suicide Prevention
Just Do It
Beyond Policies and Procedures
The Future of Suicide Prevention in Schools
Prevention vs. Crisis Intervention
Chapter 3. Changing the Mindset
Expert Commentary: Leo Hart, School Counselor, Valley High School, Sunny Valley, Arizona
Postvention Leads to Prevention
Getting Buy-in from Staff
Getting Buy-in from Students
Getting Buy-in from Parents
School Counselors Help Support Student Mental Health
Advice on Starting a Suicide Prevention Program
Get the Conversation Started
Stop the Stigma
Knowledge is Power
The Mindset at our School is Positive so there is No Need to Change It
How a Culture of Caring Led to Crisis Support
School Website Resources
Firearms and Suicide
Who Are Suicide Prevention Advocates?
We Are All Responsible
Chapter 4. Prevention
Expert Commentary: Jill Cook, Assistant Director, American School Counselor Association
The Critical Need for School-based Mental Health Professionals
Evolution of the School Counselor’s Role
Focus on Prevention
Training for School Personnel
Why Every School Needs a Policy on Suicide Prevention
Overview of the Model District Policy on Suicide Prevention
Advocating for a School District Suicide Prevention Policy
Getting Started
Warning Signs
Risk Factors
Protective Factors
Mental Disorders
Youth with Complex Risk Factors
Intervention- Assess and Refer
At-risk Student
In-school Suicide Attempts
Out-of-school Suicide Attempts
Parental Notification and Involvement
Re-entry after an Attempt
Postvention- After a Suicide
Action Plan
Communication Plan
Let the Students in on the Plan
Avoid Suicide Contagion or “Copycat Suicides”
State Laws and Their Effect on Risk Factors
Barriers to Suicide Prevention in Schools
Chapter 5. Intervention
How to Help a Suicidal Student
Expert Commentary: Kelly Vaillancourt Strohbach, Director of Policy and Advocacy, National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
Schools Need Access to Mental Health Services
The Real Role of a School Psychologist
Viable Options for Schools with Limited Resources
Advocate for Mental Health Professionals
Ongoing Professional Learning
Boston Public Schools Comprehensive Behavioral Health Model
Turn a Vision into Reality
Parents Have the Right to Know
Intervention Plans Based on Risk Assessment Results
No Risk
Low Risk
Moderate Risk
High Risk
Protective Factors
Life Skills and Resilience
Effective Mental Health Care
Peer-based Intervention
Groups at Higher Risk
Creating a Safety Plan
What Not to Do
What to Do
Author’s Note: I Wish I Had Known Then What I Know Now
Chapter 6. Postvention
After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools
Crisis Response
Crisis Team Action Plan
Support for Students and Staff
Community Liaisons
Media Relations
Social Media
Help Students and Staff Cope with Grief and Loss
Coping Strategies and Counseling
Include Parents in the Conversation
Work Together with Community Partners
How Memorialization Can Lead to Suicide Contagion
Request Outside Help
Moving Forward
Chapter 7. Engaging the School Community in Suicide Prevention
Expert Commentary: Sandra McNally, Prevention Manager at EMPACT (Emergency Mobile Pediatric and Adolescent Crisis Team) – Suicide Prevention Center (SPC) in Tempe, Arizona
Suicide Prevention in Schools Evolve
Barriers That Get in the Way
How to Face Fear
What an Effective Model for Suicide Prevention Education Looks Like in Schools
Getting Buy-in from Principals, Counselors, and Teachers
How to Initiate a Suicide Prevention Program at Your School or District
Obstacles Preventing Comprehensive Suicide Prevention Plans
How to Get Buy-in for Suicide Prevention Programs
School Connectedness
One Step at a Time
Keep the Momentum Going
Community Partners
Copy from Others
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Take Pride in Caring
Chapter 8. Success Stories
We Know Suicide is Preventable
Introduction to AFSP
Expert Commentary: John Madigan, Senior Vice President and Chief Public Policy Officer, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
Actionable Data Collection
Public Safety
Funding for Research
Grassroots Advocacy
Lack of Funds
Stories of Success
Successful Interventions
Actionable Data and Research
Chapter 9. What the Future Will Be
Expert Commentary: Doreen Marshall, Vice President of Programs at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
Suicide Prevention in Schools
It’s Safe to Talk about Mental Health and Suicide
Components of an Effective Suicide Prevention Model for Schools
Help-seeking Behavior is Key
Social-emotional Learning and Mental Health Education
Advances in Suicide Prevention
How to Initiate a Suicide Prevention Program in Your School or District
Hope for the Future
Chapter 10. Resources
Prevention: Guidebooks and Toolkits
School Programs
Crisis Services for Students
Suicide Prevention Organizations and Programs
Relevant Research and Resources
Working with the Media
Intervention: Recommended Resources
Postvention: Recommended Resources
Engaging the School Community: Connectedness
About the Author

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