ACT 71

Youth Suicide Prevention for Educators

IU8 Eduplanet 21 Online Learning Institute

This asynchronous Learning Path will provide educators, or gatekeepers, with information on youth suicide prevention that is consistent with current research and best practices. The five modules contained within this Learning Path cover content on youth suicide that involves debunking myths, school-related epidemiology, definitions, risk factors and warning signs, and how to help suicidal youth. The goals of this Learning Path are to provide educators with accurate information about youth suicide in order to increase their knowledge on this topic, as well as their comfort with identifying potentially at-risk youth within their school settings.

Upon completion of this course, participants will receive a Completion Certificate and be awarded 4 Act 48 Credit Hours. Individuals completing the learning paths are responsible for tracking your completion hours. IU 8 will not retain this information for you.

Dr. Matthew Wintersteen

is the Assistant Professor and Director of Research in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Wintersteen is Co-Investigator and Co-Program Developer of a SAMHSA-funded study designed to build training, screening, and intervention in schools across Pennsylvania. Additionally, his grant-funded work supports his role as facilitator of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Suicide Prevention Coalition, a collaborative partnership among nearly 100 campuses across Pennsylvania designed to support one another in developing meaningful and effective methods of reducing suicide deaths on campus. Dr. Wintersteen was the Principal Investigator of a SAMHSA-funded campus suicide prevention project at Thomas Jefferson University designed to increase awareness about suicide, educate students and faculty, enhance linkages to services, and promote healthy behaviors. He led an extensive assessment of mental health and suicide risk among students in the health profession field at Jefferson and collaborated with colleagues on this nationally.

In addition to his grant-funded projects, Dr. Wintersteen has served on national task forces convened by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, the American Association of Suicidology, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the National Institute of Mental Health. He was a consultant to the National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide (NCPYS), and serves as the Co-Chair of the Pennsylvania Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative.

Finally, Dr. Wintersteen organized, participated, and moderated a panel of national and international experts on youth suicide tasked with developing an empirically-informed list of warning signs for youth suicide.

Requirements for School Entities

Act 71 of 2014 requires school entities to:

  • adopt a youth suicide awareness and prevention policy
  • provide ongoing professional development in youth suicide awareness and prevention for professional educators in buildings serving students in grades 6-12. Additionally, section 1526 specifically permits school entities to incorporate curriculum on this topic into their instructional programs pursuant to their youth suicide awareness and prevention polices."

IU 8 offers two virtual, asynchronous learning courses that meet the 4 hour requirement of professional development as described below:

School entities are required to: "Include in its professional development plan submitted to the secretary for approval pursuant to section 1205.1 four (4) hours of training in youth suicide awareness and prevention every five (5) years for professional educators in school buildings serving students in grades six through twelve."

The learning paths are FREE and were funded by the Garrett Lee Smith grant.

How do I access the learning paths?

CLICK HERE to print your instructions

This learning is FREE


Please contact Jennifer Anderson, IU8 Director of Professional Learning and Organizational Development