Best practices in adolescent suicide prevention include teachers as major participants, because teachers are in a unique and frontline position to support students. Unfortunately, many teachers are unaware of their role in suicide prevention efforts. In addition to confusion about their roles, teachers may feel uncomfortable and/or lack confidence in their abilities to identify warning signs and intervene with suicidal students. This study assessed secondary teachers' (N = 74) perceptions of their role in suicide prevention as well as how they perceive their comfort and confidence levels in identifying and intervening with suicidal students. In addition, this study explored possible reasons teachers might feel uncomfortable assisting in suicide prevention. While teachers overwhelmingly agreed that they should have a role in adolescent suicide prevention, teachers also reported having limited confidence in their ability to identify or help potentially suicidal youth. Teachers also acknowledged limited training, fear of making the situation worse, and fear of legal repercussions as potential barriers to participating in suicide prevention efforts. Consequently, teachers will benefit from more direct training which clearly identifies their roles and allows opportunities for teachers to role play.
College and Department
David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Hatton, Victoria R., "Secondary Teachers' Perceived Role in Suicide Prevention and Intervening with Suicidal Students" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 4215.
adolescent suicide, school-based suicide prevention, teacher perceptions, role, training, barriers