Principals' perceptions of benefits and barriers to school-based suicide prevention programs

Stephen D. Whitney, Lynette M. Renner, Christina M. Pate, Katie A. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Suicidal behavior among children and adolescents is a national problem and schools can be an effective context for suicide prevention and intervention efforts. School-wide screening programs are viewed as most effective from a public health standpoint, although they garner the least support from school administrators. The purpose of this article is to examine administrators' perceptions of three school-based suicide prevention models while also capturing opinions on barriers and benefits to implementation. Data were gathered through interviews with seven principals from one Midwestern state. Findings reveal agreement among principals that schools play a key role in suicide prevention, but they differ on which type of prevention approach is most appropriate. School principals believed the school-wide screening program included more barriers to implementation than either the in-service or the curriculum-based program, largely due to the likelihood of parental disapproval. Limitations of the study and implications for improving suicide prevention efforts are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)869-877
Number of pages9
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011


  • Adolescent mental health
  • At-risk
  • Prevention
  • Suicide
  • Youth


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