Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Department

Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Nicole Harris

Abstract

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in adolescents today (Pisani et al., 2012; Katz et al., 2013). Zalsman et al. (2016), reported the recognition of suicide prevention as a public health priority has helped to encourage research, detection, treatment, and management of individuals at risk for suicide, however the implementation of proven, evidence-based, and cost-effective strategies are the duty of public health policy makers and healthcare providers. Occupational therapists are trained to help individuals determine what occupations are meaningful and completed in order to feel a sense of self-efficacy, therefore occupational therapy can play a critical role in suicide prevention (Entwistle, 2016).

Throughout the review of literature, it was noted there was a gap in literature pertaining to occupational therapy’s role in suicide prevention with adolescents, however occupational therapy is supported within the realm of mental health services. Four main themes found among the literature review include contextual influences, the role of peer mentorship in providing mental health services to adolescents, current suicide prevention programs and strategies, and the potential role of occupational therapy with suicide prevention. This literature review was then used to create a comprehensive, suicide prevention program from the viewpoint of occupational therapy practice in a school-based setting.

The methodology of this scholarly project included a review of literature regarding critical components in need of examination when creating a suicide prevention program and how occupational therapy can facilitate this. Also included were consultations with high school administrators in regard to feasibility of implementation of such a program. Lastly, a procedure manual was created for implementation of this program by a school-based occupational therapist.

To address the national public health epidemic of suicide in adolescents, a procedural manual was created outlining a peer-mentor lead program including education regarding suicide and aspects relating to suicide, improvement of self-esteem and self-image, recognition of emotion and emotional regulation, and the overall influence of context, environment, and bullying. This program is designed to be supervised by an occupational therapist, however is facilitated by a peer-mentor who has undergone training by the occupational therapist. The hope is to decrease the overall rate of suicide or occurrence of suicide ideation and give adolescents the tools to improve aspects of their personal mental health.

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