Suicide is a serious health issue among teenagers. According to research by JAMA Pediatrics in 2020, teenagers accounted for a bigger share of suicide numbers across 14 states. The report points out the increasing mental health challenges the younger generation faces. In order to help communities and societies combat the challenge of teen suicide, there exist a variety of teen suicide prevention programs.
These programs work toward formulating and implementing suicide prevention strategies in various spheres of life. Let’s dive deeper into some of these teen suicide prevention programs and understand their actions and functioning.
1. School gatekeeper training
This teen suicide prevention program is designed to help the staff present in educational institutions – coaches, teachers, counselors – gauge student behavior. This will help them identify and help students at risk for suicide. The program also teaches staff how to respond to a suicide crisis on campus.
2. Community gatekeeper training
These programs train healthcare providers working with teenagers and community members (think clergy, merchants, police, etc.) to identify and refer teenagers at risk of suicide. They are taught to create a safe space for adolescents to talk about their feelings and emotions.
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3. General suicide education
This suicide prevention program is directed toward students. As a part of them, students are taught about what suicide is and the warning signs associated with it. Students are also made aware of the various channels of help they can use in case of adverse situations. Initiatives under this program include various activities for building social competency and self-esteem.
4. Screening programs
These teen suicide prevention programs use different screening methods like questionnaires to identify and report students at risk of suicide. The identified students are then referred for professional help. Repeated assessments have been conducted as a part of the program to:
- measure changes in attitude or behavior of students,
- test the overall effectiveness of the suicide prevention program, and
- detect any potential signs of suicidal behavior.
5. Peer support programs
Initiatives under this program can be conducted inside and outside the campus. They aim to foster relationships between peers and increase social interaction among high-risk teenagers.
6. Crisis centers and hotlines
Crisis centers and hotlines have trained staff that provides telephonic counseling and other related services for individuals who are suicidal. These programs also offer referrals to mental health services and ‘drop-ins’ to crisis centers.
Read more: The New 988 Suicide Hotline
7. Intervention after a suicide
This program is directed toward family members and friends dealing with death due to suicide. They are partially intended to control suicide clusters. They help teenagers and family members deal with the grief of losing a loved one or friend due to suicide.
Combined efforts from all parts of society are required to combat the mental health challenges faced by young adults. Additionally, linking all the above-mentioned teen suicide prevention programs to proper mental health care resources is necessary. An increase in the number of adolescent-dedicated prevention programs will result in a broader scope of activities. This might help push the effectiveness of the strategies.
Other than suicide, there exist a wide number of social issues that plague the life of young adults. To read more about them, click here.
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