4. Warning Signs

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It is critically important that trainers make a distinction between risk factors for suicide and warning signs for suicide. Educators need to be familiar with both, but it is this distinction that prompts the appropriate action steps. While it is important to understand that some factors place students at higher risk for suicidal behavior than others, it is critical that educators understand which factors are truly warning signs that would prompt an immediate response.

Terri A. Erbacher, Ph.D; Clinical Associate Professor, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine; Author of Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner’s Guide to Multi-Level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention, and Postvention
Matthew Wintersteen, Ph.D; Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Human Behavior Director of Research, Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University; Executive Board, Prevent Suicide PA, Philadelphia, PA

Course Length: 30 minutes credit

Course Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to describe the difference between risk factors and warning signs for youth suicide.
  2. Participants will be able to identify empirically-derived warning signs for youth suicide.
  3. Participants will be able to discuss student and school staff perspectives on how warning signs for youth suicide present themselves.

Course Supplemental Material:

  1. Youth Suicide Warning Signs. Available here.
  2. American Association of Suicidology. “Warning Signs.” Available here.
  3. Suicide Prevention Resource Center (2014). Warning Signs for Suicide. Available here.

Course Achievement: No certificate will be available for this class. Completion for this class will, however, show up on the user’s transcript.  Once users complete the entire course (8 classes), they will be able to print a certificate.

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