Guidelines for Suicide Prevention in Schools, Draft Issued by Central Government

school children

The Ministry of Education issued draft guidelines to sensitize and provide support for cases of self-harm in students in schools all over India. The plan is the need of the hour, after an alarming number of students died by suicide in 2023. Under the guidelines drafted, a School Wellness Team will be set up that will follow the protocols. The School Wellness Team (SWT) will detect and report early warning signs of affected students. The comprehensive suicide action plan will be implemented, and necessary steps will be taken accordingly. The guidelines which are released by the Union Ministry of Education, will be followed by schools as a step towards Suicide prevention and awareness of mental health in educational settings in India.


UMMEED which stands for Understand, Motivate, Manage, Empathise, Empower, Develop is a step-by-step action plan that emphasizes the values of emotional intelligence. Being aware, managing and regulating our own and others’ emotions, and empathizing with others.

School Wellness Team (SWT):

Every school will have a School Wellness Team (SWT) set up by the school Principal, who will be responsible for handling crisis situations. This team will include counselors, teachers, representatives of school management and medical team, and peer monitors, and will be led by the school Principal. The wellness team will take immediate action upon receiving reports of any student displaying the warning signs.

Plan for Action:

The plan calls for an immediate response to at-risk children who are displaying the warning signs, also to those who are actively taking steps towards harming themselves.
In addition to that, enhancing awareness, encouraging peer support, and organizing daily activities that help with relaxation and reducing stress would build a great toolbox to help with students’ mental well-being in school. Additionally, there will be more vigilance at river banks, bridges, cliffs, medical shops and river banks for prevention, according to the guidelines.

Every Child Matters:

The core of the guidelines is based on the fundamental idea that ‘Every Child Matters’, guiding the creation for preventing student suicides. As a strategy to help prevent suicide and the stigma associated with suicidal behavior, the plan highlights the importance of fostering communication and partnership among schools, peers, and the community. Lighting up dark corridors, and maintaining clean spaces around the school helps facilitate a secure and healthy environment for children. The plan also calls for removing negative behaviors in classrooms like comparison with peers, perception of failure as permanent, measurement of success based on academic performance, and passing sensitive comments on physical appearances. Positive psychological and physical environment in schools will help children’s mental and physical wellbeing.

Crisis Response Protocols:

This comprehensive suicide action plan is an intervention that includes crisis response protocols and counseling services. The plan’s purpose includes implementing mental health education programs to raise more awareness about signs of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation among parents, children, and teachers, and to prevent the stigma that still pertains to seeking help for mental health concerns.

Guidelines noted school, school-going students undergo a lot of transitions that may cause extreme stress, like transitions from school to college, shifting cities or countries due to a parent’s transferable job, or losing a parent, or a dear one. Children may also experience physical and developmental changes in appearance that lead to concerns of self-consciousness, academic pressure, and more. Whilst going through the changes, a sensitive comment may affect their self-esteem. A supportive and mental health-sensitive environment in school is now necessary.

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