State Requirements for School Personnel Suicide Prevention Training: Where Do We Go From Here?
Suicide is a leading cause of death among youth and emerging adults in the USA. Because youth suicide imposes serious burdens and has profound implications, federal priorities include suicide prevention training among school personnel, in part, because school personnel can assume an important role in suicide prevention given their work with youth. Many states now have policies for school personnel suicide prevention training, in response to federal priorities encouraging the establishment of suicide prevention training requirements among school personnel. However, because federal priorities do not specifically define these training requirements, there is considerable variation in state-level policy and practice. Consequently, state-level youth suicide rates are examined in relation to variable state policies, to explore how suicide rates may differ as a function of variable policies, in order to determine if particular policies or practices are correlated with greater harm or benefit to youth. Statistical analyses suggest that state-level policies are not strongly correlated with rates of youth suicide, indicating that current policies have not had significant impact on youth suicide. Alternatively, statistical analyses suggest that rates of youth suicide are correlated with youth population percentages per state and rural areas. Five important policy and training considerations are discussed relating to training duration, training frequency, training content, application of skills, and inclusion of technology. These five policy and training considerations outline specific issues that should be considered when developing state requirements for suicide prevention training among school personnel, including the creation of precise definitions and rigorous standards, review of the evidence base around training approaches, and the creation of standards around evaluation of training programs. Further exploring these five particular policy and training considerations will increasingly unite federal priorities and state-specific youth suicide prevention efforts, which may more effectively moderate rates of youth suicide.
KeywordsYouth Suicide prevention School personnel State requirements Policy
All authors were responsible for the conception and direction of the article. EK created the first draft of the article, and KJR and TS provided substantive feedback on subsequent drafts. After several iterations where all authors contributed, all authors approved the final version of the article.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
There were no forms of financial support, funding, or involvement. There are no conflicts of interest.
Conflict of interest
The authors report no conflicts of interest.
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