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“It's like an epidemic, we don't know what to do”: The perceived need for and benefits of a suicide prevention programme in UK schools

Ashworth, E, Thompson, J and Saini, P (2024) “It's like an epidemic, we don't know what to do”: The perceived need for and benefits of a suicide prevention programme in UK schools. British Journal of Educational Psychology. pp. 1-15. ISSN 0007-0998

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Background: Despite emerging evidence for the effectiveness of school-based suicide prevention programmes worldwide, there are few being implemented in the UK, and their social validity (i.e., the feasibility, acceptability, and utility) is not yet known. Aims: We aimed to conduct a scoping study to determine: 1) the social validity and potential benefits of school-based suicide prevention interventions, 2) the perceived need for such interventions, and 3) barriers and facilitators to implementation. Sample and methods: 46 participants took part. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with mental health professionals (N=8), school staff (N=8), and parents whose children had experienced suicidal ideation/behaviours (N=3) in England. Focus groups were also completed with children and young people (N=27) aged 15-18 across three state secondary schools. Data were analysed using thematic framework analysis. Results: Three themes were identified: 1) the need for and importance of suicide prevention in children and young people, 2) schools as a setting for delivery, and 3) key components of suicide prevention programmes. Conclusions: Participants overwhelmingly agreed that there is a need for a greater and more consistent emphasis on school-based suicide prevention. School appears to be an acceptable location for suicide prevention, and participants felt discussions about suicide should begin at the start of secondary school. However, there are potential barriers that need to be considered, including tailoring for neurodiversity, challenging cultural/family beliefs and stigma, managing personal experiences of suicidal thoughts or previous bereavement from suicide, and a lack of existing training for school staff.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1303 Specialist Studies in Education; 1701 Psychology; Education
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Divisions: Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Publisher: Wiley
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2024 13:32
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2024 12:00
DOI or ID number: 10.1111/bjep.12683
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22784
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