Poland Discusses Parkland and Suicide Prevention Awareness

The suicides of two Parkland shooting survivors and the father of a child killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 has shed light on the need to talk about trauma, suicide prevention, signs, and warnings.

Scott Poland, a professor at Nova Southeastern University in Florida who studies suicide prevention, recommends that staff in all schools, not just the sites of mass shootings, receive an hour of training a year on the warning signs of youth suicide and how to report them within the school system.

Warning signs for suicide can include aggressive or impulsive behavior, increased alcohol use, social withdrawal, dramatic mood swings, reckless behavior, and threats or comments about killing oneself, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Schools should establish ways to anonymously report suicidal statements, add anger management to the curriculum, and create a school safety task force that receives input from mental health experts, Poland said.

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