There are so many suicide prevention activities that you can find all over the internet. However, finding an activity that consistently decreases crisis numbers and increases student safety is like finding a unicorn! But, after many years of working in a Title 1, high poverty school district where we dealt with suicidal ideation and self harm on an almost daily basis, we found it!!
For years, we watched our school and district numbers of student suicidal ideation (SI) outcies rise, as the same was happening nationwide. I read everything I could get my hands on and went to countless crisis presentations and workshops to try to find a way to bring these numbers down at my school. When I didn’t find anything, I talked with my colleagues and principal about my idea to start every guidance lesson with a short minilesson on crisis identification, intervention, and prevention.
Oh my goodness- imagine our joy and shock, when after five years of steady SI increase, we FINALLY saw our numbers come down. This trend continued and even improved as we fine-tuned these crisis prevention minilessons, making them better and better- the grand finale came last year in late May when we ran the numbers and realized our student crisis outcries were down over 50% from the previous year!!! Read on to find out how we set up this intervention.
Suicide Prevention Activities: Guidance Minilessons
Keep in mind that the entire student body should see you regularly in guidance lessons, so they know who you are and how to get to you in a crisis. I figured that since all the students were seeing us once a month in guidance lessons, that would be the perfect time to teach crisis prevention. So, we began every guidance lesson with the following crisis prevention reminders and information:
- How to see the counselor (request forms for non-emergencies)
- The “3 hurts emergency” and how to get immediate help for it
- All school staff=mandated reporters
- Tips to prevent the “3 hurts”
Then, we taught a quick minilesson on crisis prevention as part of every guidance lesson. Possible minilesson topics could be healthy coping skills, stress and anger management, child abuse awareness, and more! Here is a link to my curriculum of guidance lessons where each one offers crisis prevention activities and info.
Viola! It was that simple. Try it at your school and see your incidents of suicidal ideation take a nosedive. Let me know how it goes!!
Incidentally, I do the same type of crisis minilesson in every group session; here’s a link to the post with that information.
Suicide Prevention Resources
Here are the best suicide prevention resources to incorporate into your program!
The School Counselor and Suicide Prevention Awareness– The American School Counselor Association’s (ASCA) position statement for school counselors on what our role is in suicide prevention.
“Suicide Contracts, Assessments and Parental/Guardian Notification”– an ASCA article by Dr. Carolyn Stone on the dangers of SCs using suicide assessments and screeners.
Research and Suicide Prevention Top 10 Findings from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
A Model School District Policy on Suicide Prevention from AFSP, this is also the suicide prevention policy that ASCA endorses.
Wrapping it Up
That brings me to the end of my September post. Please leave a comment because I’d love to hear what you are doing to promote suicide prevention month at your school! You can catch up with me again in October for my monthly counseling post that I share during the first weekend of every month! In the meantime, you can find out about my latest promotions, free stuff, or counseling adventures by following me on my School Counselor Stephanie Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest pages!