A systematic review of school-based interventions aimed at preventing, treating, and responding to suicide- related behavior in young people

Jo Robinson, Georgina Cox, Aisling Malone, Michelle Williamson, Gabriel Baldwin, Karen Fletcher, Matt O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Suicide, in particular among young people, is a major public health problem, although little is known regarding effective interventions for managing and preventing suicide-related behavior. Aims: To review the empirical literature pertaining to suicide postvention, prevention, and early intervention, specifically in school settings. Method: MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CCRCT) as well as citation lists of relevant articles using terms related to suicide and schools were searched in July 2011. School-based programs targeting suicide, attempted suicide, suicidal ideation, and self-harm where intent is not specified were included. No exclusion was placedon trial design. All studies had to include a suicide-related outcome. Results: A total of 412 potentially relevant studies were identified, 43 of which met the inclusion criteria, as well as three secondary publications: 15 universal awareness programs, 23 selective interventions, 3 targeted interventions, and 2 postvention trials. Limitations: Overall, theevidence was limited and hampered by methodological concerns, particularly a lack of RCTs. Conclusions: The most promising interventions for schools appear to be gatekeeper training and screening programs. However, more research is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-182
Number of pages19
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Schools
  • Suicide prevention
  • Systematic review

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