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Youth Suicide Prevention

Role of the School Employee

Suicide is the result of an extremely complex interaction involving a number of factors that all contribute to the expression of suicidal behaviors. Knowledge of risk factors, protective factors, and warning signs plays a key role in youth suicide prevention. Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide. Protective factors are those that make it less likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide. Warning signs are behaviors and characteristics that someone may harm him or herself in the near future.

As a school employee you have an important role to play. You have day-to-day contact with students, some of whom have problems that could result in serious injury or even death by their own hand. You are therefore able to observe students’ behavior and act when you suspect a student may be at risk of self-harm. School employees can play an active role in suicide prevention by being aware of the warnings signs of suicide and taking the student to the school counselor or school psychologist.