The purpose of this policy is to reinforce the importance of whole school approaches to suicide prevention and to provide guidance to schools on responding to a student’s attempted suicide or suicide.
It is critical that suicide prevention in schools takes a whole school approach.
- promote student resilience, coping strategies and help-seeking behaviours
- ensure that, where appropriate, students are aware of and encouraged to access mental health support services within the school
- approach suicide or attempted suicide in a non-stigmatising way
School staff have a responsibility to:
- identify early signs that a student may be having mental health issues
- follow the Department’s and the procedures set out in the ‘Mental Stress’ category of the school’s Emergency Management Plan
Effective suicide prevention results from a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing and social and emotional learning.
Schools must promote positive mental health and ensure that students are aware of and encouraged to access mental health support services within the school if required.
Mental health training and support
Schools must ensure that 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 as per the school’s Emergency Management Plan and the Department’s Reporting and Managing Schools Incidents (Including Emergencies) Policy
- follow procedures to respond to the suicide or attempted suicide of a student as per the school’s Emergency Management Plan and the Department’s Reporting and Managing Schools Incidents (Including Emergencies) Policy
Responding to attempted suicide or suicide of a student
Schools must follow the Department’s Reporting and Managing School Incidents (including emergencies) Policy, when responding to the attempted suicide or suicide of a student
Schools must ensure that their Emergency Management Plan considers incidents related to the physical and psychological safety of students and has procedures in place for managing these.
Guidelines to assist in responding to attempted suicide or suicide
Guidelines to assist in responding to attempted suicide or suicide (the Guidelines) have been designed to assist school staff in responding to attempted suicide or suicide by a student. They provide a checklist of the immediate and longer-term steps that should be taken by schools. See:
The Guidelines complement school efforts to promote positive mental health and supports and reflect critical incident management processes.
School leaders and emergency response teams should re-familiarise themselves with the information in the Guidelines as soon as they are aware of a suicide or attempted suicide.
Privacy and duty of care
Teachers have a duty of care to pass on information to the principal, or other appropriate leadership staff, if they have knowledge of student self-harm or suicide risk, so that appropriate steps can be taken to ensure the safety of students.
Personal and health information must be collected and managed appropriately in accordance with relevant laws and Departmental policy. For example, use and/or disclosure of health information should be limited to:
- where needed to carry out school functions
- where needed to lessen or prevent a serious threat to a person or the public’s health, safety or welfare
- where a parent/carer or mature minor consents to the disclosure, or
- when sharing information outside the Department is required, or authorised by law, such as to:
- when required by law enforcement
Reviewed 12 May 2021