School Suicide Tertiary Prevention (Postvention) refers to school activities which occur after a student has attempted suicide or died due to suicide. When a suicide occurs, it is a traumatic event for many survivors. This includes students, faculty, staff, parents, families, and the overall community. Many survivors are at increased risk for suicide themselves.
Suicide clusters are well established among adolescents. Thus, the school response to an actual suicide is crucial. The goal of postvention is to minimize the trauma to students, faculty, staff, parents, families, and community residents. Effective postvention strategies can reduce the likelihood of further suicides and ensure individuals receive the help they need.
School Suicide Postvention activities are most effective when they are planned out well in advance of any actual emergency. It is worthy to note that the manner in which school professionals respond to a school suicide can help to serve as a line of prevention for future suicidal thoughts and behaviors among students, faculty and staff. In this manner, further trauma can be averted.
School Suicide Postvention strategies are critical to appropriately addressing feelings of grief, ensuring that individuals receive the help they need. Being prepared and making certain that all strategies are proactively in place greatly helps to provide for an organized and efficient response.
School Suicide Postvention requires a proactively developed plan to address specific postvention steps and strategies. The crisis intervention team should develop the suicide postvention plan. Once established, all school staff should be familiar with the postvention plan.