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School Personnel Perspectives on their School’s Implementation of a School-Based Suicide Prevention Program


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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Support for this study was provided by the NIMH (R21MH68623, K08MH069741-1, and P30 MH068639). We are indebted to Rich Lieberman of the Los Angeles Unified School District for his support of this project, to Windy Wilkins for research assistance, to Stephanie Lonsinger, Allison Guaspari, and Samantha Shugarman for assistance with the preparation of the manuscript, and finally, to the principals and staff of the participating schools for sharing their experiences with us.

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Correspondence to Bradley D. Stein MD, PhD.

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Stein, B.D., Kataoka, S.H., Hamilton, A.B. et al. School Personnel Perspectives on their School’s Implementation of a School-Based Suicide Prevention Program. J Behav Health Serv Res 37, 338–349 (2010).

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  • Suicide Prevention
  • School Personnel
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Youth Suicide
  • Crisis Intervention Team