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The Suicide Project (Weston)

From an interview with Jim Koller and Karen Weston, Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology

“We are seeing an increasing number of suicides. We have one district [in Missouri] that has thus far this year had six adolescent suicides. It’s just devastating in that small school district. More and more school districts are having to grapple with this issue,” says Weston. How to respond to this problem involves some controversy about which is the best approach to suicide prevention. The Center has recently developed an online course on suicide prevention. They have also undertaken research with school leaders to understand their perceptions on suicide prevention. As Weston explains, “some people think if you talk about it in the schools that’s going to make kids more likely to attempt suicide, which is not true. It’s a huge misunderstanding that’s out there. There are some prevention programs that promote screening of kids to see whether they’re potentially at risk for harming themselves, and that’s highly controversial.” Naturally, suicide prevention relates to the Center’s work in schools as well, “because we want kids to have good coping skills so that they’re not thinking about taking their own lives.”