2nd Edition

Suicide in Schools A Practitioner's Guide to Multi-level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention, and Postvention

    360 Pages 14 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    360 Pages 14 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The extensively updated second edition of Suicide in Schools provides school-based professionals with practical, easy-to-use guidance on developing and implementing effective suicide prevention, assessment, intervention, and postvention strategies.

    The Suicide in Schools Model provides readers with clear, step-by-step guidelines on how to work proactively with school personnel and community professionals, how to screen, assess, and monitor suicide risk, create collaborative safety plans, and plan for reentry after a suicidal crisis. The authors expand this new edition with detailed case examples and innovative approaches such as upstream prevention strategies, usable handouts, and internet resources to effectively work with youth facing a suicidal crisis as well as students, families, and school staff who have suffered a suicide loss. Updates include expanding the literature on cyberbullying and social media, the higher risk of suicide in ethnoracial minoritized youth and LGBTQ+ students, and the role of suicide in school violence.

    This book is essential reading for school-based administrators, crisis team members, and mental health professionals as well as for outside providers who work collaboratively with school districts.

    1. Overview and Introduction  2. The Role of Information and Communication Technologies in School-Based Suicide Prevention, Assessment, Intervention, and Postvention  3. Prevention and Early Identification of Risk  4. Caring for the Caregiver: Burnout, Compassion Fatigue, and Vicarious Traumatization  5. School Crisis Team Response Planning  6. School Liability and Implications for Best Practice  7. Suicide Prevention Programs, Policies, and Protocols  8. Guidelines for Suicide Risk Screening, Assessment, and Monitoring  9.  Intervening with a Potentially Suicidal Student  10. The Aftermath: Immediate Suicide Postvention Step-by-Step  11. The Bereaved Student, School, and Community


    Terri A. Erbacher, PhD, has practiced as a school psychologist for nearly 25 years. She has won awards for suicide prevention advocacy and is a trainer and consultant at erbacherconsulting.com.

    Jonathan B. Singer, PhD, LCS, is a professor at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Social Work, past-president of the American Association of Suicidology, and founder and host of the award-winning Social Work Podcast.

    Scott Poland, EdD, is a professor at Nova Southeastern University. He is a pioneer in the field of suicide prevention, having co-authored numerous books, chapters, and state plans on the subject.

    "I am deeply grateful for this book. No matter who you are, it has something important to teach you. The book is written in a clear, professional, and engaging style that feels like a personal consultation. 

    This manual is an unparalleled collection of essential, practical tools written with heart from a deep well of experience. It will prepare you, your school, and your district to be at your best for those who need you most. It will shape your thinking and sharpen your focus. It will help you and the people you serve through difficult days.

    The authors will remind you that you aren’t helpless. Their insights will turn worry into action. Open the book to almost any page, and you will find information and inspiration that will inform policy, boost your ability to make a positive impact, and help you know what to do next, whatever your circumstances. 

    Buy this book, read it, and keep it close by. I have no doubt it will help heal and save many lives."

    Anthony Godfrey, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools, Jordan School District

    "Suicide prevention in schools is as complex as the public health problem it confronts. From a national perspective, many schools lack the written policies of comprehensive suicide prevention, intervention and postvention that are necessary to guide their administrators and mental health personnel.

    In the second edition, the authors weave suicide prevention into an education-friendly multi-tiered system of support and distinctly identify the evidenced based, culturally responsive tier 1, 2, 3 interventions that address at-risk youth. They provide guidance on critical contemporary issues that expose vulnerable youth to suicide such as social media and information technology while continuing to deliver an updated wealth of information, and resources.

    For the practitioner, this seminal text is augmented with expert tips, lessons learned, and scenarios designed to enhance knowledge and the perception of the school mental health professional as the preeminent advocate for suicide prevention in schools."

    Richard Lieberman, NCSP, Lead Suicide Prevention Consultant, Los Angeles County Office of Education

    "As school districts look to advance their approach to suicide prevention, Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner's Guide to Multi-level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention, and Postvention, 2nd Edition is a must-read. Drs. Erbacher, Singer and Poland provide a comprehensive, practical guide for school-based suicide prevention that contains both boots-on-the-ground pragmatic tools as well as higher level guidance for leadership. Since the first edition, released nearly a decade ago, much in the world has changed, presenting new significant challenges to youth wellbeing and suicide risk, but also with many school districts leaping forward in their sophistication in preventing suicide. In this second edition, not only are expert recommendations updated, but additional case vignettes and timely new guidance related to pandemic concerns, social media, and cultural nuances are helpfully included." 

    Christine Yu Moutier, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and co-author of Stahl’s Handbooks: Suicide Prevention

    "The authors are all well-known experts in the field of suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention and their knowledge of this topic is encyclopedic in scope. In their highly readable text, they bring to life the scope of the problem of suicide in children and adolescents through extensive research, case studies, and their own personal experiences. Their passion for saving the lives of youth comes through loud and clear. The authors provide practical information and expert tips in each chapter as well as online Support Materials. This book is a must have for school mental health providers. Just the chapter on school liability is worth the cost of the text for school leaders who wish to protect their students and their school from costly lawsuits."

    Philip J. Lazarus, Ph.D., Director of School Psychology, Florida International University and Past-President, National Association of School Psychologists

    "This edition expands on the first, which was already a must have in working with at-risk youth in school-based settings. Not only do the authors cover the essential components and risk and protective factors of youth suicidal behavior, they also address the role of social media, peer support, parent involvement and community action as part of a comprehensive plan to address youth suicidal behavior. The authors provide excellent case examples to help illustrate points, and practical information that aligns with clinical and research experts in the field of youth suicidal behavior. Finally, the authors structure their book to extensively explain how a multi-tiered approach can be implemented for suicide prevention and examine current suicide prevention programs through this multi-tiered framework. The authors have outdone themselves in this second edition, and have provided school personnel and mental health practitioners the necessary tools and information to be more confident in working with high-risk youth, including what to do if a suicide unfortunately does occur. This invaluable resource already has a place on my desk."

    James J. Mazza, Ph.D., Professor, School Psychology Program, University of Washington 

    "Experiencing a suicide cluster in our school community that claimed the lives of 11 students aged 13–18 in an 18-month period is by far the most challenging experience I have ever encountered in my 22 years as a school administrator. Thankfully, there are resources and experts out there who can help schools when faced with these challenges. One of the absolute best resources is the book Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner's Guide to Multi-level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention, and Postvention, 2nd Edition by Terri A. Erbacher, Jonathan B. Singer, and Scott Poland.

    This comprehensive guide provides school personnel with essential information and practical strategies for preventing and responding to suicide in schools. They cover a range of topics, including risk factors and warning signs, crisis management protocols, postvention strategies, and community partnerships.

    One of the strengths of this book is its focus on practical, evidence-based strategies that can be implemented in schools. The authors provide case examples, sample protocols, and worksheets to help schools develop and implement effective suicide prevention programs. They also provide guidance on working with diverse student populations, including LGBTQ+ students, students with disabilities, and even address the complex role of social media in this work.

    Suicide in Schools is an essential resource for anyone working in a school setting. The authors' expertise, combined with their compassionate and practical approach, makes this book an invaluable tool for promoting student well-being and preventing suicide in schools."

    Micah Hill, Superintendent, Kalispell Public Schools, Kalispell, MT

    "This is one of the most comprehensive, well-written, and user-friendly resources for suicide prevention through postvention for K-12 schools! The authors integrate current research and data (including the impact of COVID) with best practices for prevention, assessment, intervention, and postvention. Current social media trends, the importance of assessing the digital footprint, collaboration with community providers regarding assessment, intervention, and reentry, effective approaches to working with parents, memorials, and integrating a case study that provides step-by-step guidance from identification to recovery makes this resource my go-to book! As emphasized by the authors, suicide risk assessment is about identifying 'points of prevention, not prediction'. This resource can and will help us save lives!"

    Melissa A. Reeves, Ph,D., NCSP, LPC – Past-President, National Association of School Psychologists

    "Drawing upon my two decades of scholarship on the mental health of Black youth, I understand the vital role schools play in support and intervention. This is especially critical in addressing the growing suicide rates in minoritized youth suicide risk. In the second edition of Suicide in Schools, Drs. Erbacher, Singer, and Poland integrate additional seminal research focused on suicide risk in minoritized youth, reinforcing the robust scholarship from the first edition. This makes it an indispensable guide for social workers, psychologists, counselors, teachers and other staff in schools across the nation."

    Michael A. Lindsey, Ph.D., Dean and Paulette Goddard Professor of Social Work, NYU Silver School of Social Work

    "Suicide in Schools brings clear, practical, and sensitive guidance to the delicate subject of youth suicide. I feel a deep professional gratitude to the authors for their thorough, hopeful, and helpful approach to this critically important topic. This life-saving book belongs in the hands of educators everywhere."

    Lisa Damour, Ph.D., Co-host of the Ask Lisa podcast and author of Untangled, Under Pressure, and The Emotional Lives of Teenagers.

    "An insightful, practical, and contemporary book that engages and challenges practitioners’ readiness to address suicide in their school. The text is well organized providing easy access to needed information. Case studies and expert tips bridge theory and practical application of concepts. Highly recommended for beginning school mental health professionals and seasoned veterans."

    Frank Zenere, Ed.S., School Psychologist, District Coordinator, Student Services, Crisis Management Program, Miami-Dade County Public Schools