Definition

Postvention

Postvention refers to the efforts that are taken after a suicidal crisis and/or a death by suicide. These measures play an important role in supporting the faculty, staff, students, and the broader community, as well as preventing suicide contagion, or copycat suicides.

Postvention: Planning Ahead

Based on the prevalence of suicide, it is important that all schools are prepared in advance of suicide or any suicidal crisis with a postvention plan. Having a postvention plan in place in advance of a crisis allows for a prepared response and prevents an unorganized or panicked response to a suicidal crisis. A planned and prepared response enables schools to respond to a crisis in an effective manner.

Postvention as Prevention

Effective postvention efforts limit the spread of suicide contagion, thus acting as a method of suicide prevention. To learn more about postvention as prevention and the importance of contagion, visit the SPRC’s Postvention as Prevention page.

“What is done after a suicide crisis is just as important as what is done before one.” 

-Youth Suicide Prevention School-Based Guide

Key Elements of Suicide Postvention

National Guidelines for Postvention Efforts:

  • Planning ahead to anticipate needs
  • Provision of immediate short-term and long-term support
  • Tailoring responses to survivors
  • Including survivors in planning and implementation of postvention efforts

Elements of Postvention Efforts in Schools:

  • Led by the crisis intervention team
  • Planned and organized media response utilizing safe messaging
  • School and community response utilizing safe messaging
  • Community support and healing efforts