Chapter 5: Planning for when a death is unexpected

Additional considerations when a student has died from suicide

“We (the staff) were utterly speechless. This was not a student who was on our radar as someone who was struggling. I was so grateful Tim (principal) had arranged for a grief and trauma counsellor to come into the school to provide guidance and support to all of us. It was a horrible time for us all”.  – Teacher


A student’s death from suicide will have a profound effect on everyone in the school community and will require you to plan and implement some additional support strategies specific to supporting a school following a suicide death. If available, you should involve a crisis response team.

In addition to information already outlined in this module, below are some other considerations and tips.

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See also:For additional communication strategies and tips, see Nine tips for speaking with a grieving person in Chapter 1 – Communication strategies of Module 2 -- Supporting Grieving Students.

For additional information about deaths from suicide, see Module 3 – Support for Student Deaths, Chapter 4 – After a student’s death from suicide. 

For more in depth information on postvention after a death from suicide, please go to After a suicide: A toolkit for schools (2nd ed.).