School Personnel Perspectives on Their School's Implementation of a School-Based Suicide Prevention Program

Published in: The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, v. 37, no. 3, July 2010, p. 338-349

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2009

by Bradley D. Stein, Sheryl H. Kataoka, Alison Hamilton, Dana Schultz, Gery W. Ryan, Pamela Vona, Marleen Wong

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Youth suicide is a national public health priority, with policymakers highlighting schools as an ideal setting in which to deliver suicide prevention programs. Over the past decade, the number of schools implementing such programs has grown substantially, yet little is known about how successfully such programs are being implemented. This study examines the implementation of a district-wide suicide prevention program through key informant interviews with school personnel. Schools with higher rates of implementing district protocols for at-risk students had an organized system to respond to at-risk students, a process for effectively responding to students who were at-risk for suicide, and strong administrative support. In contrast, schools that had lower rates of implementing district protocols relied on a handful of individuals for suicide prevention activities and had limited administrative support. Attention to organizational factors leading to successful implementation of school-based suicide prevention programs may enhance the role of schools in national adolescent suicide prevention efforts.

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