A new programme to help prevent suicides in high schools across Cheshire and Merseyside, supporting students aged 14-15 years old thinking about taking their own lives will commence in January 2025.
The programme which aims to reduce suicide risk and increase help-seeking among young people is based on the Multi-Modal Approach to Preventing Suicide in Schools (MAPSS) which was originally developed in Australia. It is being tested as part of a randomised controlled trial following a successful pilot study that previously took place.
The research is being led by Dr Pooja Saini, Reader in Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention and Dr Emma Ashworth, Senior Lecturer in Psychology within the Suicide and Self-Harm Research Group at Liverpool John Moores University. The aim is to replicate the Australian research in the UK following adaptations for UK schools, to establish whether MAPSS would also be effective here.
Dr Pooja Saini explained:
“The programme will support Year 10 students in high schools and consists of three components. The first is a suicide prevention workshop called SafeTALK for young people delivered by trained professionals from Grassroots Suicide Prevention. SafeTALK is a three and a half hour workshop which teaches students to recognise and respond to the warning signs of suicide in themselves and others.
“The second component is screening to identify young people who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts or ideation. Young people will be asked to complete the Suicidal Ideation Attributes Scale (SIDAS), which consists of five questions about suicidality in the last month. Young people who score highly on the SIDAS will be referred to their school for further support.
“The final component is delivery of a targeted online intervention, Reframe IT-UK, for young people who score highly on the SIDAS. Reframe IT-UK is a suicide-specific eight-week cognitive behavioural therapy programme for young people that is completed during school time with an appropriately trained member of staff.”
In addition, Papyrus will deliver training in suicide prevention skills to teachers at participating schools, and parents will be offered the opportunity to attend suicide awareness training.
For further information on the programme contact can be made directly with the Suicide and Self-Harm Research Group at Liverpool John Moores University via Dr Pooja Saini P.Saini@ljmu.ac.uk or Dr Emma Ashworth E.L.Ashworth@ljmu.ac.uk