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Course 6B - After a Suicide: Toolkit for Schools
This Course 6B - After a Suicide: Toolkit for Schools - is sponsored online by CEU By Net. The course earns 6 Clock Hours of credit for multiple State Mental Health and Addiction Boards including Texas Mental Health Boards, Florida CE Broker, the Alabama Board for Social Work, Texas' TCBAP-TAAP, California CCAPP, Florida Certification Board, IC&RC, and NAADAC. Approved by EACC for 6 PDHs Total, Domain II, III. The course also awards 4 Credit Hours for California BBS and 4 NBCC Hours. Based upon these credentials, the course is accepted by most state boards for multiple licenses.
This course is the new, 2nd Edition of the original document created in 2011 by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC). The purpose is to assist schools in the aftermath of a suicide in the school community. This second edition includes updated information and new material.
The material in this course reflects consensus recommendations developed in consultation with national experts, including school-based administrators and staff, clinicians, researchers, and crisis response professionals. It provides guidance and an array of tools for school administrators and mental health managers for development of a POSTVENTION approach to student or employee suicide.
In this course, POSTVENTION is strategically implemented by middle and high school administrators and key Crisis Intervention staff, after the death of a student or school employee by suicide, in coordination with community entities including the Coroner or Medical Examiner, Police, Funeral Director, and the Faith Community. The purpose of Postvention is to alleviate the distress of suicidally bereaved individuals – in this case, both students and employees - and to reduce the risk of imitative suicidal behavior (SUICIDE CONTAGION), and to promote the healthy recovery of the affected community.
This resource was originally developed for Administrators and Crisis Team staff in middle and high schools, but it is also valuable for Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Programs - particularly inpatient, residential and Intensive Outpatient programs. Although some of the guidance can also be used to serve other academic groups, the developmental differences between students in elementary, middle, and high school, and college must be taken into account when using the toolkit to respond to a death in a school or treatment program. Likewise, age differences in other workplaces must be taken into consideration.
These materials are useful for Employee Assistance Program (EAP) professionals who are providing management consultation to school districts. The strategic interventions and tools presented in this course apply to both District students and District employees. The essential approach to communication about the death and POSTVENTION procedures which follow a death are also applicable to workplaces other than schools.
Ideally, schools and other organizations should have a crisis response and postvention plan in place before a suicide occurs. That will enable staff to respond in an organized and effective manner. But whether or not a plan is in place, this toolkit contains information to initiate a coordinated response within the facility and the community.
Goals for Learning:
1. Know the Crisis Response Steps that should be taken immediately, internally within the organization and within the community, when a school learns that a student or employee has died by suicide.
2. Know the do's and don'ts of reducing the emotional trauma of a student or employee suicide for all students and staff, including specific approaches to obtaining and communicating information about the death.
3. Understand the concept and process of POSTVENTION within an organization -- i.e., strategic communication and activity implemented by administrators and key staff to alleviate the distress of suicidally bereaved individuals -- with intent to reduce the risk of imitative suicidal behavior (SUICIDE CONTAGION) and promote the healthy recovery of the affected community.
4. Know the approaches to sharing information and coordinating activities with organizations outside the school, including the police department, the coroner or medical examiner, the faith community, the funeral home director, and mental health providers.
5. Know how to effectively work with the Media – helping journalists to ensure that the public gets the information it needs without causing undue emotional stress, and without increasing the risk of suicide contagion to other students or violation of privacy.
6. Know how to appropriately use and guide Social Media to inform, while working to limit the spread of online rumors and the type of media content that can increase the risk of vulnerable students.
7. Understand the dynamics and risks involved in Memorialization – how to establish policies and procedures which guide students toward appropriately remembering and honoring a student who died without contributing to additional emotional trauma or suicide risk among other students.
8. Have direct access to an extensive array of tools and templates including sample guidelines for policy development, letter content, and procedures to be used in the aftermath of a suicide.
9. Direct access to an extensive collection of online resources for the design and implementation of effective POSTVENTION programs in the aftermath of tragedies including student suicide.
This course is published and copyrighted by American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, & Suicide Prevention Resource Center. (2018). After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools (2nd edition). Waltham, MA: Education Development Center. Funded by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), (Grant No. 5U79SM062297).
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