By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As suicide rates increase in this country, educators are trying to find ways to keep kids safe and alive.

Students who attempt suicide need careful monitoring after returning to the classroom, according to Dr. Terri Erbacher a clinical associate professor of psychology at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

She says a tool she created is working well in area schools to keep a close watch on kids at risk.

“There are fluctuations in suicide risks that can be daily or even within about four hours,” she said. “We meet with the students just to meet with the students and look at the major triggers and then we’re assessing for risk.”

She says some students always have suicidal thoughts and rating that risk from 1-10 can let educators know when a student needs help.

According to Erbacher, with this monitoring educators can step in quickly when a student’s suicide risk is assessed on a daily or weekly basis

“Let’s just say they hover around a 2, 3, 4, by doing the monitoring, I’ve caught students who were at 5-6 but we’ve caught them before that 8-9 and then we’re in a crisis again,” she said.

She admits it’s extra work for school workers, but it can keep kids safe.

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