Tuesday, 13 November 2012 16:33

After a death by suicide

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Nothing should be done to glamorise or dramatise the event, but doing nothing can be as dangerous as doing too much. Every school should have policies and procedures that address the needs of the principal, teachers/staff, students and parents after a suicide.

Maureen Underwood and Karen Dunne-Maxim in their book, Managing Sudden Traumatic Loss in the Schools, identify the following:

Principals need:

  • Information about the death
  • Information about the deceased
  • A system for contacting necessary crisis resources
  • A strategy for responding to media requests
  • Support

Teachers/Staff need:

  • Information about the death
  • Information about the school's crisis response plan
  • Permission to grieve and a place to grieve
  • Preparation for students' reactions
  • Guidance in structuring school activities
  • Involvement in identifying high-risk students
  • Information about resources within the school and community
  • Support

Students need:

  • Information about the death
  • Permission to grieve and a place to grieve
  • Outreach to those most impacted by the death
  • Information about resources within the school and community

Parents need:

  • Information about the death
  • Information about the school's response
  • Preparation for children's reactions
  • Information about community resources
  • Support
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Warning Signs

Warning signs may include but are not limited to:
Withdrawing from family and friends
Having difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly
Sleeping too much or too little
Feeling tired most of the time
Gaining or losing a significant amount of weight
Talking about feeling hopeless or guilty
Talking about suicide or death
Self-destructive behaviour like drinking too much or abusing drugs
Losing interest in favourite things or activities
Giving away prized possessions
Mood swings
IMPORTANT
If a friend mentions suicide, take it seriously. If they have expressed an immediate plan, or have access to prescription medication or other potentially deadly means, do not leave them alone. Get help immediately.

Helplines

The Samaritans116 123
Pieta House1800 247 247
Aware1890 30 33 02
ISPCC Childline1800 66 66 66
Teen-Line Ireland1800 83 36 34

Contact Us

Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland (RCN20070670)
Atrium Business Centre
Blackpool Retail Park, Blackpool
Cork City, Ireland
Tel 021 - 242 7173
Email admin@yspi.eu