Secondary Principals’ Perceptions and Practices for Implementing Student Suicide Prevention Programs

  •  Dawn M. Porter    
  •  Louis S. Nadelson    
  •  Samantha H. Mullins    


We explored secondary school principals’ knowledge of suicide prevention programs, their perceptions of the logistical and cultural barriers associated with suicide prevention program adoption, and their justification for adopting (or not adopting) suicide prevention programs in their schools. Principals, as positional leaders of schools, can lead the adoption and support of school-based suicide prevention programs for their students. Using a phenomenology framework, we conducted semi-structured interviews of eight secondary school principals working in public schools in the south-central United States. The principals readily identified the importance of supporting students’ mental health to enhance their learning as a justification for implementing suicide prevention programs for their students. They shared how limited staffing, time, perception of school responsibility for student mental health, and lack of knowledge of available suicide prevention resources were logistical, cultural, and knowledge barriers to adopting suicide prevention programs for students. Our research has profound implications for practice.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-5250
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-5269
  • Started: 2012
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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