6. How Educators Can Respond to Youth about Whom They Are Concerned

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Educators work with students with emotional and behavioral struggles daily. It is helpful to provide guidance on how best to respond and interact with youth with whom they are concerned. Remember their responses should be in sync with school district policies.


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 how to respond to youth that may be at risk for suicide, from the perspective of students, educators, and suicide prevention experts.
  2. Participants will be able to identify the steps that take place after a student is referred to a school-based mental health professional with suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
  3. Participants will be able to summarize the variety of parent/family reactions and responses to learning that their child may be suicidal.
  4. Participants will be able to describe the importance of a reentry meeting, and provide examples of components that may be part of a reentry plan when a student returns to school after a hospitalization.

Course Supplemental Material:

  1. Youth Suicide Warning Signs. Available here.
  2. Mayo Clinic “Teen Suicide Prevention” video. Available here.
  3. Pennsylvania Network for Student Assistance Services website. Available here.
  4. Suicide Prevention Resource Center (2012). The Role of High School Teachers in Preventing Suicide. Available here.
  5. Suicide Prevention Resource Center (2012). The Role of High School Mental Health Providers in Preventing 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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