Screening refers to the use of a standardized instrument or protocol to determine if someone is at-risk for suicide.

Why screen students for suicide? ​

Adolescents are generally honest when asked directly about suicide
Screening effectively identifies students at-risk
Screening does NOT “plant the idea” of suicide

Best Practices for Suicide Screening in Schools

  • Repeated screening is highly recommended because suicide risk fluctuates over time
  • Opt-out consent model, unless other requirements are present
  • Requires consent from parents if a teen screens positive​
  • Students who screen positive must have a direct assessment by trained clinician within seven days
  • Screen students in waves (such as by grade level) with consideration for the number of students and amount of resources available for follow-up
  • Only screen students after an intervention protocol is in place and staff have received gatekeeper training

Evidence-Based Screening Tools


Suicide Screening in Adolescents, Arkansas Children’s Hospital

Care, Assess, Respond, Empower (CARE) model,

State Laws: Suicide Prevention in Schools, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)

Suicide Intervention Manual, Blue Valley School District