Postvention Toolkit: Pre-Crisis Planning
Postvention planning should be done in advance. It should be specific enough to be useful, while flexible enough to apply to different circumstances.
Be thoughtful about who delivers information and how it is communicated.
This pre-crisis planning is important because in the aftermath of a suicide, when emotions and tensions are high, it is very difficult to respond without having guidelines or plans in place.
Having said this, it is important to identify individuals responsible for postvention planning and implementation BEFORE a suicide occurs.
Various departments, different employees and community organizations will be responsible for deploying aspects of the postvention plan. Postvention planning should emphasize the importance of interagency communication and coordination.
Questions to consider in developing your postvention plan include:
- Who should be in the organization’s emergency response team? Who can make decisions in the moment? Who can make time at a moment’s notice to participate?
- What training would be needed in order to be successful in this role? Where can we access this training?
- What information do the various aspects of your organization need to know about our postvention plan in advance? What is the best way to share information?
- How do you hear about and track suicides?
- What support resources do you have?
- How might they be coordinated as part of a unified response?
- What postvention protocols are you currently using? For example: Do you have a media communication strategy that you use in the event of a suicide? Do you have a protocol for identifying at-risk students after a suicide?
- What are some practical considerations to address? For example, for residential services, who packs up a deceased person’s room?
- Check-in with your staff about how the current response to student death/suicide is working through a review process. Where were the gaps? What were the challenges?
- Crisis or suicide crisis
See the video below to learn more about how to assemble your postvention team.