Workshop 2

Workshop Title:  The School’s Role in Youth Suicide Prevention in the Age of COVID-19

Presenter:  Scott Poland, Ph.D., Southeastern Nova University, USA and Rich Lieberman, MA, Los Angeles, CA

Workshop Description: Youth suicide rates prior to COVID-19 were at or near record highs in many countries and dramatic increases in suicides have occurred for middle school age students. COVID-19 has resulted in many students being isolated with only virtual instruction. Isolation is one of the key factors in suicide along with low belongingness and perceived burdensomeness. COVID-19 has caused the death of more than two million individuals worldwide and has resulted in economic hardship for many students and their families. Historically suicide rates have increased after pandemics, times of financial hardship and high unemployment. This presentation will help school psychologists increase their understanding of the most common factors in youth suicide and their important role in suicide prevention.  

Learning Objectives:

Participants will be able to:

  1. Identify protective factors and primary prevention programs to prevent youth suicide.
  2. Identify key myths about suicide.
  3. Learn how to develop a comprehensive best practices model for suicide prevention and intervention that includes depression screening.
  4. Learn what constitutes a comprehensive suicide assessment including how to conduct a virtual suicide assessment
  5. Learn the importance of parent notification when a student is at-risk for suicide.
  6. Learn the importance of follow up once a student is determined to be suicidal and the importance of a re-entry program at school if the student has been hospitalized.
  7. Understand the relationship between self-injury and suicide.
  8. Learn the prevention lessons from a number of legal cases where schools were sued following a youth suicide.
  9. Understand the complex relationship between bullying and suicide. 

Brief Bio: Richard Lieberman MA, NCSP is a Lecturer in the Graduate School of Education at Loyola Marymount University and from 1986-2011 he coordinated Suicide Prevention Services for Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest school district in the U.S. Richard is a co-author of the PREPaRE Model for NASP and numerous book chapters and articles on suicide prevention, intervention and postvention in the schools.   Richard has consulted nationally with districts experiencing suicide clusters; served on the Steering Committee of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and contributed to the SAMHSA Preventing Suicide and SPRC/AFSP After a Suicide school toolkits and California Department of Education’s Model Youth Suicide Prevention Policy.

Brief Bio: Poland Ed.D, NCSP is a Professor at the College of Psychology and the Co-Director of the Suicide and Violence Prevention Office at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The presenter, a licensed psychologist has authored or co-authored five books and many chapters and articles on youth suicide and self-injury and has served as a legal expert in a number of lawsuits.  He also co-authored the Suicide Safer Schools Plan for the state of Texas and the Crisis Action School Toolkit on Suicide for the state of Montana. He is a past President of the National Association of School Psychologists and a past Prevention Division Director of American Association of Suicidology. 

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