“Suicide means to end your life intentionally. Experiencing thoughts of suicide can be frightening. Thoughts of suicide can seemingly come from nowhere or begin as fleeting thoughts of wanting to disappear or escape. They may progress into feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness and planning or taking steps to end your life.” (PAPYRUS, 2021)
How to recognise students at risk of suicide?
Risk factors might be situational or behavioural.
Situational risk factors could include adverse childhood experiences, academic pressures, bereavement, domestic violence, substance misuse, bullying or feeling different or as if they don’t belong
Behavioural risk factors could include recent changes to a young person’s behaviour or sleep pattern, a history of self-harm, feeling anxious or trapped, feelings of being a burden to others, low mood or withdrawal, loss of interest in activities or avoidance of others, feeling that there is no positive future, actively making plans for suicide
What can teachers do to support young people who are at risk of suicide?
When taking steps to support a young person who may be self-harming, remember to be CLEAR:
Check for suicidal thoughts and intentions
Listen to their story
Empathise and inform
Apply self-help techniques
Refer to a health professional
3 top tips!
Use the CLEAR acronym to help breakdown what do when concerned about someone that might be suicidal
Prepare for conversations by having some ideas of what to say to help people express how they are feeling (there are some good examples at the end of our video). Practice compassionate listening with others to help your interactions.
Talk directly to a young person about suicide if you are concerned; this will not put ideas into their head but will show that you care and are concerned about their wellbeing.