S.L.A.P. a Student Contemplating Suicide – A Method of Suicide Prevention
On episode #53 of Center for Parent/Youth Understanding’s podcast, Youth Culture Matters, Dr. Marv Penner shared some diagnostic questions to prevent a possible suicide. If you’re ever in a scenario when a student contacts you about suicide, these are some helpful questions to recall:
S – Specific: How specific is your plan? The more specific a student is about their plan of suicide, the more concerned you should be. While any discussion about ending life should always be taken with seriousness, if a student states a specific plan and talks about a specific day, this is cause for immediate action.
L – Lethality: How lethal is the method considered? What you’re trying to discern here is if there’s any window to step in for intervention. For example, a gunshot is more lethal than a bottle of pills. Without a doubt, both are lethal but a gunshot is almost immediate, while pills allow time to possibly intervene and save their life. Minutes matter greatly when you’re dealing with a student contemplating suicide.
A – Available: How available is the method? If a student actually has access to the method they are considering, this is cause for great alarm. If a student says ‘The rope is tied around the rafter’ or ‘The gun is in my hand.’ That availability immediately raises the urgency.
P – People/Proximity: How close would some sort of help be? Are there any people around to prevent this? Is anyone in proximity to stop this? Is this student up in their bedroom and the parents are downstairs watching television or is this student secluded in the woods? Again, in this scenario, you are trying to discern if there’s any way to stop what is about to take place or if anyone is nearby to act as soon as possible.
It isn’t easy thinking about, talking about, or writing about suicide. Sadly, it is something we all must consider and be equipped to deal with if we’re ever in the above scenario. For more specifics about suicide and deeper context on the above acrostic, please check out the full episode by clicking here.
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