Å høre til i livet : en narrativ studie om selvmordsforebygging i skolen
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A feeling of belonging A narrative research about suicide prevention in schools Motivation: Norwegian teenagers are in general well-functioning. They do well in school, have healthy recreational activities, don’t use alcohol and drugs much, have friends and are satisfied with their parents. At the same time there are some disturbing signals. Studies report increasing numbers of youth struggling with their mental health; 15% of the adolescents have indulged in self-harm, 20% have had suicidal thoughts and 10,4% have attempted suicide. The World Health Organization (WHO) claims that suicide is one of the world’s biggest health challenges. They also say that it is preventable and schools can be a part of the solution. Despite research findings and WHO recommendations, Norwegian schools do not have an official policy on suicide prevention; it is not even a topic. Problem statement: The research question is: What was school like when you were struggling with suicidal thoughts? And a follow-up question: What do you think your school could have done to help? Approach: This is a narrative research project. The goal is to contribute to increased knowledge on how adolescents experience their school days when they are struggling with suicidal thoughts. The subjects were recruited via district psychiatric hospitals, they were aged between 18 and 23 years old. The discussion is based on analysis and interpretation of the findings, Joiners Interpersonal-Psychological-Theory of Suicidal Behaviour and international research on suicide prevention in schools. Results: The main findings are that students find it difficult to tell school staff about suicidal behaviour, that the taboo linked to it is an important reason, and that secrecy amplifies the problem. The subjects want their teachers to be aware of their diffuse signals and to ask directly when concerned. At times their suicidal thoughts are so consuming that they need a customized study plan, but they don´t want to avoid schoolwork. The subjects also have a message: Talk about suicide in schools, and make mental health a subject throughout the school time. Conclusion: Suicidal youth want to go to school and they need to succeed; dropping out has long-term consequences. The taboo around talking about suicide is a main obstacle preventing teachers and schools from developing a professional way of performing their suicide prevention tasks. Suicidal youths do not want teachers to be health workers, but schools need to clarify what their mental health tasks are and how to perform them. They need a professional discourse and tools to increase awareness of the problem and prevent suicide.
Masteroppgave pedagogikk - Universitetet i Agder 2016