School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Richard Green


Suicide in Elementary Students, Suicidal Ideation in Elementary Students, Elementary Teachers and Student Suicide, Suicide, Elementary Students


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to explore elementary school teachers’ experiences with student suicidality in North Georgia. The first theory guiding this study was the Interpersonal theory of suicide, developed by Thomas Joiner to explain how risk factors of suicide interact to better understand who is most likely to make suicide attempts. Specifically, it proposes that when a sense of social alienation and perceived burdensomeness occur simultaneously, an individual begins to desire death. The second theory guiding this research was the three-step theory of suicide developed by E. David Klonsky and Alexis May. This theory posits that suicide is dependent upon four constructs: pain, hopelessness, connectedness, and suicide capacity. The aims of this research are to determine how the shared experiences of student suicidality among elementary school teachers compare with current research on suicidality in young children, add valuable insight into suicidal behavior in young children, and uncover additional factors that can inform prevention programs, influence interventions for elementary school students and staff, and potentially decrease suicidal behaviors. Nine elementary school teachers who have had a student(s) display suicidal ideation, make suicide attempts, or complete suicide served as participants in this study. Data collection methods included interviews and reflective journals. Interviews were conducted virtually via Microsoft Teams. The raw data was coded, labeled, and classified into themes. The themes were analyzed and compared to existing literature.

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