Scanlan Center for School Mental Health
Group working together at table
Recent Findings

Recent Findings: Critical Research Projects

The purpose of the Critical Research Projects is to fund faculty engaging in important school mental health research. These funded faculty engaged in a competitive application process and were awarded funding for a half-time graduate research assistant for one year to support their work.

Below are the abstracts summarizing the findings for each project. Please reach out to Ashley Rila via email,, for questions.

School Counselor Suicide Intervention Needs: A National Survey

The purpose of this study was to assess the needs of practicing school counselors regarding their schools’ policies and use of suicide risk assessment tools or protocols, as well as their perceptions of these tools and protocols to better understand current trends across the nation. The research questions guiding the study were: 1) What types of policies and procedures do school districts have in place for suicide risk assessments? 2) Do school districts use standardized assessments or tools to use for conducting suicide risk assessments? 3) Are the policies and tools sufficient for meeting the needs of the school district? And 4) What other needs are school counselors identifying in regard to suicide risk assessment?

The data from this study came from an online survey distributed to state-level school counseling associations across the United States during the spring of 2022. School counselors in this study noted concerns regarding suicide risk assessment procedures and their knowledge and application of tools. They also asked for professional development for both themselves as well as other school staff in how to work with students who are experiencing suicidal ideation. Lastly, the participants in the study identified some confusion around their role in the suicide assessment process and their ethical obligations to carry out this role.

Team Members
Dr. Laura Gallo
Laura Gallo, NCC , Assistant Professor of School Counseling, University of Iowa
Graduate Assistant
Kayla Kemp, Doctoral Student in Counselor Education PhD Program