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At the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide, one of our core values is the belief in the effectiveness of evidence -based suicide prevention strategies. Yet, one of the questions we are most often confronted with is the request for assembly presentations. What we know about suicide prevention and keeping students safe is that assembly style presentations fail to take into consideration what we know about suicide risk. Instead, what should happen, is the inclusion of students in a meaningful, intimate conversation with experts on the subject matter as well as the identification of trusted adults in their school buildings, such as with the student curriculum available through the Lifelines Prevention module.

Research shows that students are thinking about dying by suicide. The Center for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey reports data specific to your state that will show students have serious suicidal ideation. It follows, thereafter, that these statistics resonate to a population within your own school building. And, when you convene a large number of students for an assembly style presentation – that population is present. Activities that focus on issues of traumatic loss and suicide may have an affect on those vulnerable students, and could go potentially undetected by school support staff.  In order to better protect the students in which we wish to serve, the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide believes in engaging youth in a process that is evidence-based and best-practice.

Interested in finding out more information from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey? Be sure to check it out at: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/index.htm