Suicide Prevention - Looking Deeper


According to the Jason Foundation, four out of five teens display warning signs before they attempt suicide. In most cases, however, the seeds of trauma that brought them to that place were planted much earlier. Shawna Burns, licensed professional counselor and founder of Seed Digging Wellness Center, shares personal stories and case studies that show the connections between those seeds, student behaviors, and the innate needs within all of us. Burns discusses the importance of recognizing suicide warning signs, being aware of risk factors, and having a plan for prevention. She also shares classroom strategies for creating a safe and secure environment for students that speaks to the innate needs that are so often at the root of suicide.

The course that these videos were created for meets the requirements of Act 770 of 2011.

Warning: Viewing of this version of the videos does not provide Professional Development credit. PD is only provided for Educators if the course is viewed through the ArkansasIDEAS LMS. Educators may Click here to log in to ArkansasIDEAS or to check eligibility for an account.

Lesson One


Segment 1 of 17

Presenter Shawna Burns expresses the importance of focusing on prevention as she introduces the course, Suicide Prevention: Looking Deeper.

The Root Causes of Suicide

Segment 2 of 17

Shawna Burns shares the objectives for the course, then begins laying the groundwork for suicide prevention by connecting the root causes of suicide with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Emotional Trauma and Innate Needs

Segment 3 of 17

In this segment, Ms. Burns explores emotional trauma and describes its connection with Maslow’s innate needs.

Emotional Survival and Coping Skills

Segment 4 of 17

When a person is trying to survive emotionally, they can develop coping skills in an attempt to make the pain stop. These emotional coping skills often have a variety of detrimental outcomes. Ms. Burns explores these actions and their outcomes.

The Garden Analogy

Segment 5 of 17

Ms. Burns explains the garden analogy and how our beliefs become the seeds that produce our positive and negative behaviors.

Lesson Two

Case Studies Part I

Segment 6 of 17

Ms. Burns shares the story of a thirteen-year-old young man. She begins with the behaviors observed by teachers, then takes us back to his original trauma seed.

Case Studies Part II

Segment 7 of 17

Ms. Burns shares the stories of two young ladies and once again traces their behaviors back to the original trauma seeds.

Helplessness vs. Hopelessness

Segment 8 of 17

Students experiencing trauma may sometimes act impulsively. Ms. Burns discusses the importance of responding quickly at this dangerous time.

Warning Signs and Elevated Risk Factors

Segment 9 of 17

Ms. Burns discusses the warning signs for suicide, which students may have an elevated risk of suicide, and some of the factors that put them at risk.

Planning for Prevention

Segment 10 of 17

In this segment, Ms. Burns explains the importance of having a plan for suicide prevention. She also discusses some things that should be included in that plan. It is difficult to know what to say to a student who is displaying the warning signs, but it may save the student's life. Ms. Burns talks about how to have that difficult conversation with a student who may be at risk.

Lesson Three

Setting a Safe and Secure Atmosphere Part I

Segment 11 of 17

Setting a safe and secure school and classroom atmosphere can have a positive impact on students. Ms. Burns begins the first of these segments by encouraging awareness of tone and posture when addressing students.

Setting a Safe and Secure Atmosphere Part II

Segment 12 of 17

Ms. Burns shares simple strategies for helping students feel safe and secure that can be a lifeline to struggling students.

Setting a Safe and Secure Atmosphere Part III

Segment 13 of 17

In this segment, Ms. Burns explains how students are supported by the speaking and modeling of the seven innate needs.

Lesson Four

Setting a Safe and Secure Atmosphere Part IV

Segment 14 of 17

Shawna Burns discusses student discipline and the importance of separating the garden from the weeds.

Setting a Safe and Secure Atmosphere Part V

Segment 15 of 17

We can't always prevent student frustration, but giving students a safe outlet to express their frustrations can make the difference between an incident and a nonevent. Ms. Burns offers strategies for helping both younger and older students de-escalate.


Segment 16 of 17

Shawna Burns discusses some suicide prevention resources.

Closing Remarks

Segment 17 of 17

Shawna Burns explains the importance of allowing time to grieve after loss and gives closing remarks.