For teachers who teach mental health and suicide prevention

Here in Virginia, teachers have been tasked with teaching suicide prevention, yet most of them have received no training nor have they received any recommendations as to what to present to students. This article focuses more on suicide prevention and than mental health teaching modules.

Some of our schools are doing SOS, Signs of Suicide. This is being taught in schools all over the US, including schools in Chesterfield County. While this is not a neat package of, “here’s the presentation you can use for your class,” but a web page that will get updated as we evolve in education on the topic of suicide prevention. This should have a committee to set policy for the state but in the absence of such a policy making body, this is a place in which to start.

School suicide prevention framework

This is a Model Program for Suicide Prevention for Schools by AFSP, American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. This offers an overall framework on a school approach to suicide prevention.

I have polled fellow members through my AAS, American Association of Suicidology and met with area experts so I could offer some what they are doing in other states.

To help teachers be suicide alert

For suicide alertness and prevention for teachers to be able to spot youth struggling with thoughts of suicide. These programs help you identify and connect people who are struggling with thoughts of suicide with a resource help in the community.

I am a safeTALK trainer and will be focusing on both teachers and healthcare workers in the next few years for this 4-hour evidence-based training, suicide alertness for everyone. I’m looking for funding so that the classes are free or low cost.

If you are a teacher and you teach kids, it’s $29.95 to do the online course so you can be suicide alert. This is how it’s rated at SPRC, Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

Teaching Students

AFSP, American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, has a presentation called “More than Sad,” and there is both a student, teacher and parent version. It’s more focused on mental health than suicide. “More than Sad” requires training to present. And if it’s local, it’s usually free to do the training. It’s not evidence based but many from other states really like it. Instead of your presenting it, there might be someone that would come in and present it for you.

There is also a presentation called, “Talk Saves Lives” that is about an hour. It is also from AFSP. Contact AFSP Virginia.

QPR, Question, Persuade, and Refer Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention, is a 1-2 hour educational program designed to teach lay and professional “gatekeepers” the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond. They use this program at NC state and there is a youth version. There is a licensing fee for using it to present to groups and it’s hard to see what that is but it’s not a costly program.

Response: A Comprehensive High School-based Suicide Awareness Program, is geared toward the VA SOLs (standards of learning) and comes highly recommended. It’s not as overwhelming to unpack and execute as SOS and offers more than QPR or some of the one-hour programs. It’s around $495 for the license. There may be some other costs such as training.

Resources mentioned in this article

Published by

AnneMoss Rogers

AnneMoss Rogers is a mental health and suicide education expert, mental health speaker, suicide prevention trainer and consultant. She is author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW. She raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost her younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. She is a motivational speaker who empowers by educating and provides life saving strategies and emotionally healthy coping skills. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now that's the legacy she carries forward in her son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website.

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