Suicide Awareness Strategy

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

Purpose of this policy

To reduce the incidence of suicide among students.

Policy

In accordance with the Framework for Student Support Services in Victorian Government Schools, schools must ensure:

  • policies and procedures are in place for managing emergencies that threaten the physical and psychological safety of students
  • staff are trained to:
    • treat all disclosures of intent to self-harm or suicidal thoughts seriously
    • follow procedures to respond to disclosures of self-harm or suicidal thoughts.

Definition

Suicidal ideation is a medical term used to describe suicidal thoughts or plans.

Framework

This table describes the documents that constitute the Framework for Student Support Services.

DocumentDescription

Framework for Student Support Services in Victorian Government Schools

Outlines a conceptual and operational framework to provide student welfare.

The Framework – Teacher resource

Contains information on:

  • suicide prevention curriculum (page 17)
  • dealing with unsafe behaviour (pages 44-45)

The Framework – Professional Development Support Materials

Contains information on suicide prevention for Student Support Services Officers (pages 31-33)

Summary

Summarises the core components of the framework

Suicide prevention

Local and international research indicates:

  • the combination of risk factors that lead to suicide are not predictable
  • population based preventative approaches to build resilience in young people are more effective means of suicide prevention than intervention based processes. 
  • schools should not employ a narrow approach that focuses only on suicide.

In response to this research, suicide awareness and prevention strategy is incorporated into the Framework for Student Support Services in Victorian Government Schools.

See:  Student Support Services within Related policies below

Curriculum

To aid suicide prevention, school curriculums should:

  • allow students to develop strong communication and problem solving skills
  • incorporate practical training in how to access medical and professional services through:
    • networking with other professionals and the local community
    • developing a health-promoting framework
  • not include suicide specific content.

Critical incidents

This table describes how to manage critical incidents.

StageWhoDescription

1

Staff

Advise the principal promptly when they believe a:

  • student’s safety is compromised
  • student discloses intent to self-harm or suicidal thoughts  and refer the student immediately to student support services officers.

Note: If the teacher cannot leave the student to advise the principal they should tell someone else to take a message immediately to the principal.

2

Principal

Manages the process of referral.

In the case of critical incidents (such as sexual assaults and serious physical assaults) promptly notifies the Security Services Unit (phone 9589-6266).

3

Security Services Unit

Notifies the Regional Emergency Management Coordinator.

4

Regional Emergency Management Coordinator

Ensures:

  • response is timely
  • supports are put in place to minimise the impact on the wellbeing of students involved in the incident
  • the Student Critical Incident Advisory Unit is contacted, if required, for advice and support in relation to sexual and physical assaults.

5

Student Critical Incident Advisory Unit

In relation to sexual assaults, sexualised behaviour and child exploitation (including internet based abuse):

  • provides advice and support to principals and regional personnel
  • monitors progress and management of the incident.

Other resources

This table describes the documents and websites to assist suicide awareness and prevention.

DocumentDescription

Managing School Emergencies: Minimising the impact of trauma on staff and students​ (pdf - 811.12kb)

Provides schools, regions and school support services with procedures to manage a range of emergencies and traumatic events.  Details covered includes:

  • planning to manage risks and deal with emergencies
  • trauma reactions for students, families, staff and others
  • short, medium and long term tasks
  • roles and responsibilities for regional and school based staff
  • reporting of incidents
  • sheets to be photocopied covering:
    - reactions to trauma
    - tasks
    - record keeping
    - contact lists
    - media releases.

Get Real: a Harm Minimisation Approach to Drug Education for Primary and Secondary Schools, Critical Incident Guidelines

Contains information on managing critical incidents.

Privacy

The Health Record Act 2001 prohibits disclosure of a person’s health information to anyone other than the person themselves, for any reason other the one for which it was collected. Exceptions are listed in the act and include:

  • the person consents to the disclosure
  • disclosure can lesson or prevent a serious threat to a person or the public’s health, safety or welfare
  • disclosure is required by law or law enforcement and does not breach confidence.

See: Privacy

Related policies

Related legislation

  • Health Record Act 2001
  • Education and Training Reform Act 2006