4. Warning Signs

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It is critically important that trainers make a distinction between risk factors for suicide and warning signs for suicide. Educators need to be familiar with both, but it is this distinction that prompts the appropriate action steps. While it is important to understand that some factors place students at higher risk for suicidal behavior than others, it is critical that educators understand which factors are truly warning signs that would prompt an immediate response.

Terri A. Erbacher, PhD; Clinical Associate Professor, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine; Author of Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner’s Guide to Multi-level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention and Postvention
Matthew Wintersteen, PhD; Thomas Jefferson University; Executive Board, Prevent Suicide PA; Director, Pennsylvania Higher Education Suicide Prevention Coalition

Course Length: 30 minutes credit

Course Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to describe the difference between risk factors and warning signs for youth suicide.
  2. Participants will be able to identify empirically-derived warning signs for youth suicide.
  3. Participants will be able to discuss student and school staff perspectives of the ways in which warning signs for youth suicide present themselves.

Course Supplemental Material:

  1. Youth Suicide Warning Signs. Available here.
  2. American Association of Suicidology. “Warning Signs and Risk Factors.” Available here.
  3. Suicide Prevention Resource Center (2014). Warning Signs for Suicide. Available here.
  4. Facilitator Guide — COMING SOON!

Course Achievement: No certificate will be available for this class. Completion for this class will, however, show up on the user’s transcript.  Once users complete the entire course (8 classes), they will be able to print a certificate.

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