Talking about suicide and self-harm in schools can save lives
壹心理翻译社 ◎ 荣誉出品
原作 | Sarah Stanford
翻译 | Michelle He
校编 | 搬那度
Recent statistics show around eight children and young people die by suicide each week in Australia. Around one in ten self-harm during their teenage years. This loss of life means that the topic is too important not to talk about, but parents and teachers are often concerned that talking about suicide or self-harm may put ideas in young, impressionable minds.
The World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10) and RUOK Day (September 14) campaigns are encouraging people to have honest conversations about suicide and mental health. To do so, we need to dispel the myths that encourage silence on these topics.
A prevailing myth about self-harm is that people do it for attention. If we follow this logic, we can assume that we will naturally identify those who are engaging in self-harm or considering suicide. Overwhelmingly, research does not support this idea. Only around half of young people who self-harm disclose the behaviour to anyone. Young people often go to great lengths to hide self-harm.
Teachers and parents might be on the look-out for warning signs for self-harm or suicide, such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, or experiencing stressful life events. However, our recent research highlights that not all young people who self-harm fit this profile. Yes, we need to keep an eye out for self-harm, suicidal behaviour, and other mental health difficulties, but unfortunately this is not enough.
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This is a common concern from school staff and parents. There is emerging evidence suggesting that selected self-harm and suicide programs:
reduce suicide attempts and severe suicidal ideation;
improve knowledge and attitudes; and
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Research and practice