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Divisions > Student, Family, and School Support > Student Services and Alternative Programs > Suicide Prevention
Youth Suicide Postvention

Postvention refers to the provision of systematic crisis intervention, support, and assistance for those affected by a completed suicide. Suicide postvention strategies are designed to minimize contagion. Postvention services provide appropriate emotional support and information to those affected by suicide.

General suicide postvention guidelines for schools:

  • Plan in advance of any crisis.
  • Select and train a crisis team.
  • Verify report of suicide from collaboration with the medical examiner, police, and family of the deceased.
  • Do not dismiss school and do not encourage funeral attendance during school hours.
  • Do not dedicate a memorial (i.e., yearbook, tree, bench).
  • Do contribute to a suicide prevention effort on behalf of the school or community.
  • Do contact the family, apprise them of the school's intervention efforts, and assist with funeral arrangements.
  • Do not release information in a large assembly or over intercom systems. Disseminate information to faculty, students, and parents. Always be truthful.
  • Follow the victim's classes throughout the day with discussion and counseling.
  • Arrange for counseling rooms in the school building and provide individual and group counseling.
  • Collaborate with media, law enforcement, and community agencies.
  • Points to emphasize with media and parents: prevention, no one thing or person is to blame, help is available.
  • Provide counseling or discussion opportunities for the faculty.

From: Poland, S. (1989). Suicide intervention in the schools. New York: Guildford. ISBN: 0898622328; and American Association of Suicidology-www.suicidology.org

Key components of systematic suicide postvention planning are the set of written procedures (prepared in advance) and the identification of a postvention crisis team that has been trained in advance of a suicide. As part of the planning in advance, specific crisis response duties are assigned to specific team members (e.g., communication with family, students, and parents; media liaison). Additional information about postvention strategies for school personnel may be obtained on the "Related Sites" section of this web page.


Contact Information
Brian J. Bartels, M.A., NCSP, Specialist, Psychological Services
Student Services and Alternative Programs Branch
Maryland State Department of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone:  (410) 767-0294
Fax:  (410) 333-8148
 Local Contacts
List of Local Education Agency Youth Suicide Prevention Points of Contact
 Related Sites and Resources
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Psychological Association
Columbia University TeenScreen Program
Maryland Suicide and Crisis Hotlines
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Association of School Psychologists
SOS Signs of Suicide
Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program
Mental Health Association of Maryland
 PowerPoint Presentations
Suicide Prevention PowerPoint
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