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School-Based Interventions : Suicidality
Interventions for Suicidal or Self-Harm Thoughts

  1. Assign the student to work in cooperative learning groups

    Have the student create a plan for completing all classroom assignments and homework with learning groups and a homework partner (For example, book report choices could include working with two other students to create a poster describing the book; or working with three other students to create a game show highlighting the book).


  • Help the student establish personal goals for the future

    Ask the student to define five goals for the next five years focusing on career goals, family relationships, and personal aspirations. Record these in a personal journal.
  • Assign the student to attend at least two school-sponsored functions per month with a friend

    The student will attend one band concert and football game each month and will use a personal journal to plan and review the events. top

Specialized Instruction

  • Have the student clarify self-harm vs. suicidal thoughts and devise safety protocols for each

    Devise a plan to address thoughts of dying and also to address self-harmful behaviors such as cutting.
  • Help the student examine the impact of his/her suicidal behaviors on important people in his/her life

    Ask the student to make a list of significant others in his/her life, rate the degree of support available, closeness felt or influence that person has, and examine how suicidal behaviors affect each of these significant others.
  • Identify appropriate methods for expressing feelings of hopelessness or self-destruction

    Encourage the student to draw pictures, write songs or poems, or use sculpting to depict feelings of sadness, anger or despair. top

Behavioral Planning

  • Devise a safety plan for crisis situations

    Please check back for a sample crisis plan.
  • Establish a hierarchy of people for the student and staff to contact if the student has suicidal thoughts

    Specify multiple staff and treatment providers, and the order or circumstances for contacting them, when the student is feeling or appearing unsafe.
  • Develop a suicide prevention plan with the student and parent(s) to be used at home

    Devise a routine to minimize suicide risk. This may include the student taking a bath or shower, playing soft music, reading a particular story, repeating a positive self-talk phrase, or talking with a trusted adult. top
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