A suicide prevention program developed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has significantly helped teens and young adults overcome depression and thoughts of suicide. Cathy Strunk, RN, suicide prevention expert in the division of Psychiatry, who developed Surviving the Teens, says that the program focuses on helping high school students to learn suicide warning signs, suicide and depression risk factors, how to effectively cope with stress, steps to take if they or a friend felt suicidal, and how to talk to their parents and friends about their problems
Strunk taught the Surviving the Teens curriculum to more than 6,000 high school students in Warren, Butler and Hamilton counties during the 2008-2009 school year.
For the study, more than 900 were surveyed before going through the program and after completing the program. More than 400 were surveyed three months later.
She found that:
Students who reported considering suicide decreased 65 percent, from 4.2 percent of students to 1.5 percent.
Students who reported planning to attempt suicide decreased 48 percent, from 9.9 percent of students to 5.2 percent.
Students who reported having attempted suicide decreased 67 percent, from 5.2 percent of students to 1.7 percent.
Students who reported feeling sad and hopeless decreased 26 percent, from 22.6 percent of students to 16.8 percent.
“The program taught students how to have more self-confidence and how to engage in positive behavior, which lessens the risk of them contemplating suicide,” says Strunk.
The study has been published in the Journal of School Health.