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ADVOCACY SUICIDE

INTERVENTION:
AN OPEN LETTER
Erin Dailey
Bridgewater State University
Training Intentions
◦ Audience: School Counselors (grades 6-12)

◦ To promote successful use of free association


writing in relations to coping with effects of suicide,
attempt survivors, self-harm, depression, ideation,
etc.

◦ To promote awareness to the wellbeing of students


in relation to the above

◦ To advocate importance of education on


adolescents’ coping strategies
ASCA School Counselor Competencies
1. I-A-5. Individual counseling, group counseling and classroom instruction ensuring equitable access to
resources promoting academic achievement, career development and personal/social development for
every student
2. I-A-9. The continuum of mental health services, including prevention and intervention strategies to enhance
student success
3. I-B-2. Serves as a leader in the school and community to promote and support student success
4. I-B-3. Advocates for student success
5. I-B-3b. Identifies and demonstrates benefits of advocacy with school and community stakeholders
6. I-B-4. Collaborates with parents, teachers, administrators, community leaders and other stakeholders to
promote and support student success
7. IV-B-3a. Lists and describes interventions used in responsive services, such as individual/ small-group
counseling and crisis response
8. IV-B-3c. Demonstrates an ability to provide counseling for students during times of transition, separation,
heightened stress and critical change
9. IV-B-3d. Understands what defines a crisis, the appropriate response and a variety of intervention
strategies to meet the needs of the individual, group or school community before, during and after crisis
response
Teen Risk – The Importance

Taken from: The Parent


Resource Program

http://jasonfoundation.
com/prp/facts/youth-
suicide-statistics/
What is Free Association Writing?
◦ Psychoanalytic Therapy
◦ Students will be asked to share what
comes to mind, regardless of content or
appropriate thoughts (Free Association,
2015).
◦ Developed by Freud
◦ “Stated it gave clients complete freedom
to examine their thoughts without
prompting…by the therapist” (Free
Association, 2015).
How Does it Work?
◦ It does NOT serve as a resistance source, however it is serves as a creative way for
students to express themselves rather than a destructive way (Farber, 2005).
◦ “Writing about traumatic, stressful or emotional events has been found to result in
improvements in both physical and psychological health, in non-clinical and clinical
populations” (Baikie & Wihelm, 2005).
◦ Baikie and Wihelm reported:
◦ 1986 study- college students wrote 15 min for 4 days about a traumatic experience
◦ Controls wrote about superficial topics
◦ Traumatic experienced students reported significant benefits – objectively assess and self-
reported physical health 4 months later
◦ Less visits to health center
◦ Short-term increases in physiological arousal and long-term decreases in health problems
(Pennebaker & Beall, 1986).
Example Letter
• Talked to suicide as if it was a
person

• Related the loss of friend(s) to the


anger put in place from their causes

• Noticed their own feelings on


suicide and where they stand

• Realized they want to do good and


help others from this
Processing
◦ Important for the counselor to let the student chose if
they want to read it aloud, read it to themselves, or
destroy it for example.
◦ If student choses to read it, counselor should recognize
feeling words, feeling statements, etc.
◦ Counselor should use counseling skills (paraphrasing,
summarizing, silence, etc.) in order for the student to
feel comfortable exploring their emotions.
◦ Counselor will then go over new positive coping
techniques the student can use to harness negative
emotions to turn them into positive energy.
Additional Training
◦ https://samaritanshope.org/

◦ http://www.sprc.org/

◦ https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/talk-
to-someone-now/
References
◦ Baikie, K. A., & Wilhelm, K. (2005, September 01). Emotional and physical health benefits
of expressive writing. Retrieved June 14, 2017, from
http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/11/5/338.
◦ Farber, S. K. (2005). Free Association Reconsidered: The Talking Cure, The Writing
Cure. Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis & Dynamic
Psychiatry, 33(2), 249-273. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
◦ Free Association. (2015, August 07). Retrieved June 14, 2017, from
http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/free-association-in-therapy.
◦ Pennebaker, J. W. & Beall, S. K. (1986) Confronting a traumatic event. Toward an
understanding of inhibition and disease. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 95, 274–281.
◦ Youth Suicide Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved June 14, 2017, from
http://jasonfoundation.com/prp/facts/youth-suicide-statistics/