LISTENING FOR THE VOICES OF RESILIENCE: A GROUP OF ADOLESCENTS’ EXPERIENCES WITH A SUICIDE PREVENTION EDUCATION PROGRAM

  • Chelsea Ohlmann Trinity Western University
  • Janelle Kwee Trinity Western University
  • Robert Lees Ministry of Children and Family Development of British Columbia
Keywords: suicidality, resilience, Listening Guide, suicide prevention education

Abstract

Adolescents’ experiences in a grassroots, school-based suicide prevention education group in British Columbia, Canada, were investigated in response to anecdotal observations of the group’s strong positive impact. In the Alive group, at-risk high school students, 15 to 18 years of age, learned to support each other, became literate in mental health issues, and created and performed presentations on suicide prevention to peers. The authors employed the qualitative method of the Listening Guide to explore the participants’ experiences of this program. Participant narratives reveal voices of vulnerability (including voices of not knowing, disconnection, and silence – primarily in reference to past experiences of suicidality and depression), and of resiliency (including voices of knowing, connection, altruism, and protection). Through their experience of the Alive group, the participants developed and strengthened inner and interpersonal resources of resilience and knowledge of themselves and others. Motivated by their own healing, they articulated a desire to help and impact others with what they had learned.

Published
2014-01-20