Teaching young people how to help a friend is an important part of a comprehensive school based suicide prevention strategy. Educational videos that teach basic suicide prevention skills are often a helpful part of the instruction. Videos are most effectively used with an accompanying curriculum and as part of a larger presentation on mental health, mental illness and helping friends in distress.
• Videos that teach, model and emphasize developmentally appropriate help-giving and help- seeking behaviors and that provide information on finding help. The focus should be on "HOW TO RESPOND" or "HOW TO GET HELP". In-house resources and local crisis numbers should be highlighted along with instruction.
• Videos that emphasize prevention and teach students that suicide is preventable. We want to reinforce the idea that there are preventative actions students can take to help protect themselves and their friends.
• Videos in which the heroes, or main characters, are the helpers.
• Videos that highlight effective treatments for underlying mental health problems. We want students to know that effective treatments for illnesses like depression and addiction are available AND that getting treatment is an important way to prevent suicide.
• Videos that are short enough to allow time for discussion as part of that day's lesson.
• Avoid videos that depict someone engaging in suicidal behavior or that describe methods of suicide. This can actually increase risk for suicidal behavior among vulnerable youth.
• Avoid videos that primarily depict previously depressed or suicidal youth describing their depression and/or suicidal behavior. This can inadvertently glorify or romanticize suicidal thinking and behavior.
• Avoid videos in which the primary focus is on someone who has died by suicide.
• Avoid videos that present suicide/suicidal thinking as normal in teens or as a common reaction to stress. Most young people who experience stress do not consider suicide.
• Avoid showing videos on suicide prevention to large groups or assemblies of young people. This is a topic that is best addressed in small groups and with support staff on hand.
For more information and to see a list of videos recommended by the American Association of Suicidology: Go to the American Association of Suicidology website at www.suicidology.org/stats-and-tools/videos-suicide-prevention