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.