• The Importance of Being Proactive: Suicide Clusters, Prevention Programs, and Postvention Methods in the High School Setting

      Farmer, Lindsay
      The purpose of this paper is to explain the phenomenon of suicide clustering and suicide contagion in relation to teenagers and the education system and to provide detailed recommendations for both the prevention and postvention of youth suicide in the school system. Due to the prevalence of mental health issues in teenagers, especially depression, it is important for educators to be aware of the risks of youth suicide attempts and completion, as well as the inherent dangers of clustering that may occur. The phenomenon of suicide clustering will be explained, including the methods by which clustering occurs, as well as the risks schools face when a student commits suicide because of the increased chance of a suicide cluster. The common risks and warning signs of suicides, contagion, and clustering will be discussed. Additionally, the risks associated with LGBT and special needs youth will be analyzed in order to suggest proper prevention training for educators of these students. Furthermore, an extensive, threefold prevention program and curriculum that includes school personnel, students, and parents will be analyzed and recommended. Moreover, the use of school-wide risk assessment, a relatively new concept in suicide prevention and intervention, will be explored and recommended. Also, postvention efforts—including the roles of the school corporation and the dangers of glamorizing teen suicide—will be suggested to minimize the risk of contagion and clustering. All of this will be completed through literature review and data collection from peer-reviewed journal articles.