Suicide Prevention Lesson Plan

Instructor: Joanne Abramson

Joanne has taught middle school and high school science for more than ten years and has a master's degree in education.

Discussing suicide with your students can be difficult because of its delicate nature, but this lesson plan can help guide your instruction of the topic. Find in it a short video, class discussion prompts, and small-group brainstorms that will teach your students about suicide's risk factors and prevention methods.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • List the reasons and triggers for suicide as well as steps to preventing suicide
  • Recognize the signs of a suicidal person
  • Know what to do if they encounter someone who is suicidal


1-1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards


Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions.


Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.


  • Watch the video What is Suicide? - Definition, Triggers, Underlying Causes & Prevention. Pause at 2:18.
  • Ask students for the definition of suicide that was provided by the video, as well as the five reasons for suicide. Write their responses on the board and ensure that they correctly recalled all five reasons:
    • Depression
    • Psychotic thoughts
    • Impulsivity
    • A cry for help
    • Terminal illness
  • Continue watching the video, this time pausing at 3:38.
  • Ask students to recall the seven triggers for suicide that were mentioned in the video. Write their responses on the board:
    • Psychological disorder
    • Hopelessness
    • Isolation
    • Stressful life events
    • Substance abuse
    • Family history of mental illness or suicide
    • Previous suicide attempts
  • Watch the video to end.
  • Ask the students to name the four methods of prevention that were named in the video. Write their responses on the board:
    • Therapy
    • Medication
    • Addiction treatment
    • Family therapy
  • As a class, review the quiz that accompanies the video.

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