This material is from the teaching guide
for the video Depression & Suicide
in the 12-part DVD series THE POWER OF CHOICE

Suicide is the number two cause of death for Americans in the 15 – 24 age range. One of every seven teenagers acknowledges having considered or attempted suicide, and almost two-thirds admit that it would be difficult for them to get help for a friend who was talking about it.

This program, which was videotaped in two high schools still reverberating from recent suicides, presents a
clear minded look at what to do if you or someone you care about is at risk. Host Michael Pritchard and teens in Phoenix, Arizona and South Bend, Indiana identify the signs frequently exhibited by people who are at risk for suicide and discuss the recommended procedures for intervening. In addition, they examine ways of coping with the depression and stress that often leads to suicide, and encourage people to ask for help when they feel themselves at risk. As one student emphatically puts it, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”


  1. To sensitize young people to some of the warning signs of suicide.
  2. To provide some guidelines for how to respond to a potential suicide victim.
  3. To suggest ways of getting help when they, or someone they care about, is at risk.

This material is from the teaching guide
for the video Depression & Suicide
in the 12-part DVD series THE POWER OF CHOICE



1. If a friend swore you to secrecy and then told you he or she was thinking about committing suicide, would you keep it a secret or tell someone? Explain. Who might you tell?

Tip: Always tell someone. It’s never ok to keep this “deadly secret.”

2. What was most meaningful to you in this program? Why?

3. What do you do to get through hard times?

4. Is it better to let friends know when you’re depressed, or to keep it to yourself?

5. What emotional risks might you take in opening up to friends about your hard times? What risks do you take when you don’t let anyone know?

6. One girl in the program remarks that at such times “you have to be your own best friend.” What does that mean and how do you do it?

7. Another girl in the program said that when people tell others that they’re thinking about suicide, they’re really calling out for help. Do you think that’s true?

8. What do you do if a friend calls to say that he or she is about to commit suicide and just wants to say goodbye?

9. If a suicidal friend turned to you for help, would you know what to do? Would you try to get advice? Where would you go for advice?

10. One boy remarks that suicidal people need to have their egos built up. What does he mean by this, and do you agree?

11. What can you do to help a friend feel better about him or herself?

12. One girl describes depression as being like another person you have to fight with. Have any of you experienced a depression of this kind, and how did you deal with it?

13. This same girl speaks about several factors that kept her from attempting suicide: her family’s love, her love for herself, her intention to do good things for the world. Which do you think was most important in giving her the will to keep on living?

14. How do you think suicide affects the family and friends who are left behind?

15. A larger proportion of teenagers attempt or commit suicide than do members of any other age group. Why do you suppose this is so?

16. What suicide prevention services are available in your community?


1. Interview someone who works for a crisis hotline. Perhaps you can even spend some time listening in on calls. Write a report describing what this person’s work is like and what you’ve learned about crisis intervention.

2. Write a description of the most painful period of your life. Describe the positive things that occurred to give you some per-spective on the pain you felt.

3. Write a short dramatic scene about someone who is depressed and under stress at school. Make sure that this character’s actions reveal the inner turmoil. Have another character recognize what is happening and make an effort to help the depressed individual.

4. Research the warning signals that people put out when they are depressed and thinking about suicide. Share your findings with the group in the form of an oral report.

5. Think of someone you really care about, and imagine this person is depressed and at risk for suicide. He or she is also a thousand miles away and the only way you can communicate is by letter. Write a letter that will be meaningful and helpful to this person.

This material is from the teaching guide
for the video Depression & Suicide
in the 12-part DVD series THE POWER OF CHOICE



1. Invite a speaker from your local suicide prevention center to come to your class and conduct a workshop on crisis intervention and suicide prevention.

2. Role-play a telephone conversation in which a suicidal person calls a friend to say goodbye. The friend’s job is, of course, to prevent the suicide. End the conversation at the point when the friend feels that the suicide attempt will probably not occur. In planning the dialogue, decide who the two people are, what their relationship is, and the circumstances have made the caller suicidal. Decide, also, whether that person’s true objective is to say goodbye to a friend or to call out for help. In critiquing the role-play afterward, discuss whether the dialogue was realistic, the resolution believable, and the friend’s strategy advisable.

3. Sometimes, when a teenager commits suicide, the event triggers more suicides in the same community. If someone in your school killed himself, what action plan could you come up with to respond to this situation and prevent related injuries and deaths?

“Depression & Suicide” – The Video

In this program, comedian/youth counselor Michael Pritchard, talks with students in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Cleveland, and Minneapolis, to discover how our values can guide us in making choices that are right for us. Learn more . . .

Buy This Video
The Series

The Power of Choice with Michael Pritchard is a 12-volume youth guidance video series aimed at empowering teenagers to make good choices in their lives. It teaches young people that they have the power of choice, that they are responsible for the choices they make, and that they owe it to themselves to choose the best.
Learn more . . .


Buy This Series

For more information about individual videos in this series, click on the title below.

If your school or organization does not have these videos, you can purchase them from Live Wire Media, or request them from your local library.


Subscribe to our almost
Monthly Newsletter

Get breaking news and developments in character education and helpful tips and ideas that you can use with your own character education program.
View this month’s newsletter.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Share this: