Our school participates in Suicide Safer Schools Project, a comprehensive secondary-school-based suicide prevention program. St Francis Xavier Catholic College actively supports suicide prevention. Your son/daughter’s safety is important to us.
Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australia among youth aged 15-24 (ABS 2012).
RESPONSE is the student component of the comprehensive secondary school-based program that increases awareness about suicide among secondary school staff, students and parents. All of the program components are designed to heighten sensitivity to depression and suicide ideation, as well as offer response procedures to refer a student at risk for suicide. For more information about the Suicide Safer Schools Project visit www.suicidesaferschools.org.au.
Through the Suicide Safer Schools Project and RESPONSE, school staff and students are encouraged to learn how to recognize and assist a depressed and/or suicidal student and where to get help. One of the ways students can get help is by going to their own or another student’s parents. If your son or daughter comes to you with concerns about him/herself or another student, here are some initial steps to take:
Suicide Crisis Responders
SUICIDE CALLBACK SERVICE 24/7 helpline 1300 659 467
ERMHA – support people who are facing challenges resulting from a disability, mental illness, homelessness, or experiences of trauma or substance use (03)9706 7388
headspace – National Youth Mental Health Foundation- www.headspace.org.au
Note: Parents are often unaware that their son or daughter is considering suicide. In fact, one study1 revealed that as much as 86% of parents were unaware of their child’s suicidal behavior. Many teens consult with a peer rather than an adult when they are thinking of suicide.2 The number one reason teens don’t come to an adult is that they don’t know what to say.
If depression is treated early, suicide is often preventable. Please seek professional help when you first notice signs of depression, or if the school contacts you with concerns about your son or daughter.
Here are some things to look for (signs of major depression):
Summarized from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders- Fourth Editio
A. The person experiences a single major depressive episode:
B. Another disorder does not better explain the major depressive episode.
C. The person has never had a manic, mixed, or a hypomanic episode (unless an episode was due to a medical disorder or use of a substance).
Harassment/cyberbullying and “right to death” internet sites have been linked with suicidal behavior. If it has been confirmed that your son or daughter is at risk for suicide, you may want to ask him/her about their use of technology. Some questions are:
Are you being bullied, stalked or harassed through chat rooms, text messaging, websites, blogs, or social networking sites?
Are you getting “support” for suicidal behavior/ideation on-line?
DISCLAIMER: No suicide prevention program can guarantee that it will prevent all suicides. Adherence to the activities in Suicide Safer Schools Project will not ensure a successful outcome for every individual, nor should Suicide Safer Schools Project be construed as including all proper methods of care or serve as a standard of care. Accordingly, this program is not to be considered as a suicide “cure” or a definitive preventative set of measures.
Zenere, F.J. & Lazarus, P.J. (1997) The decline of youth suicidal behavior in an urban, multicultural public school system, following the introduction of a suicide prevention and intervention program. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 27(4), 387-403.
Cigularov, K.P., Thurber, B.W., Wilson, C., Chen, P.Y., & Stallones, L. (2006) Barriers to utilizing a youth suicide prevention program. Poster session presented at the annual conference of the American Association of Suicidology, Seattle, WA.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington DC, American Psychiatric Assn., 2000.
Rudd, D., Berman, L., Joiner, T., Nock, M., Silverman, M., Mandrusiak, M., Van Ordern, K., Witte, T. (2006). Warning signs for suicide: Theory, research and clinical application. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 36, 255-262.