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Jonathan Singer on how schools can identify those at risk of suicide

Digby Werthmuller

World-leading expert advises NZ schools to adopt "screening" method to identify young people at risk of self-harm.

Jonathan Singer is an associate professor of social work at Loyola University in Chicago. He co-authored Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner's Guide to Multi-level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention, and Postvention.

Now Singer is saying that school counsellors may not have the training to deal with children who are suicidal.

"Understanding who is at suicidal risk, cannot be determined by looking at someone" said Singer.

Singer mentions that the most effective method of suicide prevention, is through a written questioning approach called 'Screening'. Allowing young people to write down their feelings and talk about their mental health issues afterwards. Councillors can then access how severe and at risk the person is from the questioning.

"Often enough children are more likely to speak about their suicide thoughts and feelings when you ask, rather than waiting for them to approach you".

METRONEWS sat down with Singer after he had addressed education sector representatives at a workshop in Christchurch.

Dr. Jonathan Singer explains the most effective methods for suicide prevention.