The impact of a student's suicide: Teachers’ perspectives
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Background: The impact of suicide of adolescents is devastating, yet little is known about the distressing impact for teachers. The aim of this study therefore is to explore the impact student suicide on teachers’ personal and professional lives. Methods: A cross-sectional anonymous online survey of primary and secondary school teachers was conducted in Australia. The Impact of Event Scale – Revised, questions about personal and professional impact, help seeking, perceived needs and experiences after student's suicide were included in the analysis. Results: In total, 229 teachers commenced the questionnaire, with 138 (60.3%) completing the full questionnaire. Questions about exposure to students’ suicide were completed by 145 teachers (63.3%). In total, 35.9% (n=52) were exposed to at least the suicide of one student (two or more: 54.8%). The most recent suicide of a student had (some or great) impact on the personal life of 76% of teachers and on the professional life of 85.7%. Impact on personal life was significantly higher for female teachers. The most frequent source for help seeking was family or partner (65.3%); use of professional help was also reported, with the school counsellor being the most frequent (30.6%). Following the most recent suicide of a student, 27.1% of teachers exposed to suicide felt that they needed more support. Limitations: The potential for selection bias through the use of an online survey, and the relatively small sample. Conclusion: The study showed high levels of distress among teachers after exposure to a student's suicide and greater need for help than that obtained.
Journal of Affective Disorders
Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified