Principals / Teachers

If you suspect your student is suicidal, what should you do?

 

Immediate Intervention

  1. Respond quickly
    Evaluate the student’s suicide risk (for more information refer to the suicide risk assessment
    Activate the Crisis Management Team (CMT) and ensure the safety of all students and staffs. Make arrangement to the students in need and contact their parents
    If the student has an imminent danger of suicide, dial 999 immediately !

For more details about school crisis management and how to handle student suicide problem, please refer to the “Handbook on School Crisis Management: Intervention and Psychological Support in the Aftermath of Crises” and the resource handbook “Detecting, Supporting and Making Referral for Students with Suicidal Behaviours” respectively by Education Bureau (EDB)

If the student does not have an imminent danger of suicide, school teachers are still recommended to pay close attention to the student meanwhile school can also take the following actions.

Short-term interventions

  1. Beware of the emotional changes of students
    Students with the following signs or conditions may need further attention from school social worker

    • Truancy
    • Persistent headache, abdominal pain or insomnia etc.
    • Having conflict with good friends
    • Breaking up in a relationship
    • Suffering from chronic stress

    Increase the frequency of meeting or home visit depending on students’ condition. It also helps enhance the parental involvement and provide appropriate support for the students.

  2. Referral to the professionals
    Depending on the condition, teachers may consider referring students to school educational psychologist/clinical psychologist or psychiatrist for further assessment. If necessary, temporary suspension from school or hospitalization could be under consideration for safety reasons.
  3. Initiating discussion on suicide
    Class teachers or school social worker can initiate a discussion about suicide (for example, during the assembly)
    Suggested steps are as follows:

    1. Teachers can share your own feelings and attitudes when you are facing difficulties. Through your sharing, students can understand better how to face challenges and the positive ways to deal with them.
    2. To help students identify their own emotions, e.g. recognizing the signs of mental illnesses and when to seek help
    3. To provide the information about counselling and mental health services in school and outside school.

Long-term Interventions

  1. Raise students’ awareness on mental health
    Regularly organize mental health awareness activities in school. Educate students about the signs of mental illnesses and their symptoms and provide them the information on where and how to seek help.
  1. Promote positive education in school
    Actively promote a whole school approach to positive education and embed its elements into the curriculum and apply it in our daily life. For further information about the student mental health promotion program, please refer to Thematic Network on Developing Students’ Positive Attitudes and Values project by our Centre.
  2. Training for the crisis management
    Leader of the crisis management team should hold regular meetings, such as at the beginning of each school year, so all team members can have clear understandings on their roles and duties.
    School should conduct crisis management drills regularly so all team members and the teachers understand the procedures of crisis management
    To provide suicide prevention training for all school staff so teachers can be equipped with adequate skills and knowledge in identifying students in need. For details of the suicide prevention workshops, please click http://csrp.hku.hk/training