Postvention is about attending to the needs of students requiring support after someone dies by suicide. It helps people grieve, but it also provides intervention with those who may be at risk for suicide.[fn]Szumilas, M., & Kutcher, S. (2010). Systematic Review of Postvention Programs. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 102, 18-29.[/fn]

As staff or faculty on campus your role in supporting students could include providing information on suicide, supporting grieving students or identifying students in distress and referring them to mental health resources. In many instances support can come in the form of extending classwork deadlines or additional support for missed exams or course work

Here are some things to keep in mind while supporting students following a suicide:

  • Connect with campus leadership for specific messaging around the death of a student; this ensures consistency of communication on campus reducing hurtful rumors
  • Acknowledge the loss the student is feeling and their need to grieve
  • Provide information about grieving–this can help to normalize student experience
  • Make space for conversation, since the stigma around suicide can prevent students from feeling comfortable to talk about the loss and create a sense of isolation
  • Encourage student selfcare and contact with supportive networks
  • Some students that are already vulnerable can go into crisis in the aftermath of a suicide. Watch for warning signs of distress and connect with on campus supports.

For more information on grieving after suicide: